For this year’s Ardbeg Day, June 4th 2022 at Feis Ile (and the world), whisky creator Dr. Bill Lumsden has used very dark roasted malt for this release called ‚Ardcore‘ – a Punk Rock version in design. There will be Punk bands live, tattoo-sessions and more – also online. Don’t miss out, go to your embassy or pay Islay a visit.
Within the LVMH organization Dr. Bill has already implemented such dark malt at the Glenmorangie Signet version- unpeated though – and one can really taste the difference in terms of chocolate and coffee aromas there. How does this roasting work on peated malt?
As usual, there are two versions to look out for: The Committee Release with 50,1% (April 26th) and the Ardbeg Day Edition with 46% (May 17th), both priced 125.- Euro in Germany. I am going to drink these head to head now:
Comment: Let’s cut to the chase – this clearly is Ardbeg with its typical features, great quality as most of the times. Only nuances differentiate these dark roast versions from the regular distillate, the effect seems less in a peated environment, I guess. The strong phenolic elements might interfere with the experimental roast malt because usually the difference is recognizable.
As to be expected, the 46%-version comes across way more opened on the nose, on the palate, the 50,1%-release takes the trophy though. Give the latter lots of time.
The 46% has an impeccable balance and gives us more of the roast effects. The focus is on BBQ-sauce, coffee, chocolate, roasted steak, soot and vanilla. I am also getting thistle and aloe, deep peat, iodine, sweet smoke, suede, charcoal, tar, resin, mustard seed, oatmeal cookies and antiseptic spray on old bandaids.
The stronger version is greener over all and plays it close to the chest. Peat, hazel, aloe, herbs, chocolate, tar, tanned leather, resin, tires, hot transformer and phenols are the main characteristics, it takes time to open up. However, in the mouth the strength in abv is an asset, and it turns less green. The soot, lively acidity and iodine along with typical Ardbeg tastes make this a winner as well.
Both versions punk well. Hard to decide – let’s call it a tie.
Scores: 89 – 90 (both)