May 19, 2015

Ardbeg Airigh Nam Beist...

Ardbeg Airigh Nam Beist (2007 release) (46.0%): Believe or not, not so long ago, there was a time when people didn't have to rob a bank or put their home on a second mortgage to afford a 17yo Ardbeg. I know it sounds like hogwash, but it's completely true..! Airigh Nam Beast is right from that magical era. Almost a Gaelic fairy tale... Before I begin with the review let's learn the first rule: Do not even try to pronounce the name... There is a line on the bottle trying to help but it's simply unpronounceable. You will make a joke of yourself. We used to call it simply "The Beast" back then... It was making it even more mystical... The whisky in the bottle is distilled in 1990 and got bottled in three different batches between 2006 and 2008 as basically 16, 17 and 18yo expressions. The sample I got is from a 2007 release. Color: Bright yellow gold, like oak aged Chardonnay. Thin but nice legs. Nose: Thick and oily peat. More like diesel fuel. Quince jam, soot and car tire. Salted feta cheese brine, Kalamata olive oil and sea spray. Cooked mushrooms and beef stew. I can smell the oiliness and viscosity of the liquid in my glass. A few drops of water brought the nose to perfection: Bosc pears, milk chocolate and thyme. So balanced and harmonious now. Palate: Warm, sweet and salty. Beautiful mouth covering velvety texture. Prunes, rosemary and perfect amount of oak. Corn flakes in milk, roasted salted almonds and cream soda. Water adds sweeter notes: Milk chocolate with hazelnuts, sea weed and mint leaves. Finish: Medium long with almonds, chocolate and oak. Creamy and sweet. Overall: Well, that was pretty much awesome... Great whisky. Amazingly well balanced with a great texture on the tongue. What can I say? Those were the days folks... Only if I knew what was about to happen to whisky industry, especially to Ardbeg products, I could save a case of this beauty somewhere safe. You still might end up seeing the bottle covered with dust in some bars or liquor stores. If you see it don't even think twice. It may be your chance there...

Ardbeg Distillery // November 2009