An Ardbeg expression that uses Black Sea oak casks sourced by Dr. Bill Lumsden from the Adyghe Republic in Russia. Whisky from these casks was then married with regular bourbon cask matured Ardbeg and bottled for Fèis Ìle 2017 at 46% ABV.
Appearance: Light honey gold. Looks quite watery but, when swirled, creates good thick oily legs.
Nose: Smokey porridge oats and cereal. By-the-sea salinity: Sand, salty air and ocean vegetation. There’s also cut grass and hay and a subdued sweetness. Quite funky!
Palate: Good intial moutfeel, oily and coats the tongue well. Mint and salt hit first, followed by a sweetness, cloves and honey.
The sweetness is concentrated, like undiluted cordial, a bit much and turns metallic as a result. Dark treacle, tastes a bit burnt. Slightly drying towards the finish and BBQ meats make a late appearance.
The herbal qualities, from the nose, are still evident on the palate.
Finish: Long sweet and meaty. The sharp sweetenss remains though, too much copper, almost like licking a battery! Chilli and white pepper give the finish a spicy edge too.
Overall: Not for me, thanks. The sweetness, BBQ meats and herbal elements haven’t married and don’t balance. That odd sharp concentrated sweetness/copper note is too off-putting and not pleasant.
It’s like a poorly executed Currach Kombu seaweed cask.