Wonderful news: The Singing Sands are back! Ardbeg’s 19 years old ‚Traigh Bhan‘ release is named after this Islay phenomenon (read up on it) and the first two bottlings really rocked our world – we reviewed them here and there.
Today on September 7th, the new manager Colin Gordon and Dr. Bill Lumsden send a third release into the ring, sourced from American oak and ex-Oloroso casks. On the label it actually reads ‚Bottled: In a lockdown‘. It took a while as it was stuck in the UK for months due to Covid-related shipping issues, but now the wait is finally over. Let’s go into the infight:
ARDBEG TRAIGH BHAN 19 y.o. Batch 3, 46,2%
Comment: A group of pot-smoking cowboys on sweaty horses rubbed with ointment underneath their old leather saddles ride into a coffee roastery while firing their guns in the air. After that, they clean their silver pistols with Ballistol oil, have some hot chocolate, milk coffee, others sip on Pu Erh tea, sherry or even lime juice, one replaces his iodine-soaked bandaid, another one writes ‚Islay Renegades were here‘ with chalk on the blackboard of offerings, one removes the nettles, thistles and resin from his socks and boots, as they all rode in from a nearby peat bog 🙂 Sorry, but it noses like that. It is a wonderful and typical Ardbeg on the sweet and leathery side with discrete Oloroso influence. I am also getting nuts, completely nuts, and white pepper. Older style indeed, complex and balanced.
On the palate the fired weapons rule over all the other aromas, really cool – I love this profile. However, it is a bit too thin and low in alcohol to fully keep the amazing promises of the nose – for me. Some might exactly like this subtlety. Big sips help. This is suitable for being served in the middle of a tasting session to start the peatsters. Then it shines.
It finishes sweet, sooty and kelpy with loads of iodine. It grows on you and goes the long way if you let it. Now the cowboys have a BBQ on the beach after a storm. Join them and get a bottle of this noble Islay dram. The George Foreman of Ardbeg whiskies, or was that Axel Schulz?
P.S.: Here is the official tasting note in German: