Ardbeg Dark Cove Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky
What the Distillery Says:
THE UNTAMED SPIRIT OF ISLAY
If you stand on the rocky headland behind Ardbeg Distillery today, it’s hard to believe this idyllic spot has a turbulent and murky past. For Ardbeg was once a notorious hideout for smugglers, who plied their trade within its hidden caves and secret beaches. Dark tales abound of ill-gotten gains, daring deeds and narrow escapes from the island’s excise men, until finally a raid was made, the dens destroyed and the gang scattered. Shortly afterwards, John McDougall founded Ardbeg Distillery on the site of their nefarious operations. From that dark past came the greatest legend of all…
THE DARKEST ARDBEG EVER
Inspired by our dark past, Ardbeg Dark Cove is a clandestine meeting of whisky matured in ex-Bourbon casks and a heart matured in dark sherry casks. So, take this year’s Limited Edition and hide it well. For it is Ardbeg’s darkest spirit ever.
COLOR: The darkest Ardbeg ever.
NOSE: At first meaty, earthy and spicy. Bold notes of dark chocolate emerge against orange, rich treacle toffee, coffee and oak. Wafts of a distant, smoky bonfire in the background, along with a mysterious floral note, like flowering blackcurrant bushes. And lashings of linseed oil.
TASTE: The mouthfeel is almost tart, or zesty lime. Raisins, dates,ginger and pepper spice surge forward, then retreat. Waves of smouldering charcoal, wood polish and huge, tarry creosote notes follow. Finally, a more savory note escapes; cured smoked ham and squid ink noodles.
FINISH: Long, spicy and rich with lingering notes of toffee, coffee and tar.
What Richard Says:
Nose: The nose is full on smoky Ardbeg. If there is sherry in there I surely can’t find it. Spicy, herbaceous, and campfire smoky. Give the whisky a good bit of time to sit and open up and it gets a little jammy sweet.
Palate: A rich raisin and toffee sweetness jump out front. Smoked bacon wrapped dates with freshly grated ginger comes to mind. More please!!!
Finish: The finish is long, peppery, and sooty.
Comments: So…when I read about this year’s committee bottling I was less than pleased. The recent scotch intersections of peat and sherry I’ve found to be very wanting. Ardbog I thought was medicinal and meh. Dark Origins is to this day the only thing I’ve ever had from one of my favorite distilleries that I didn’t like and it was basically Highland Park 12 with “twice the sherry”. In the same vein the Glasgow Blend is the only disappointment I’ve had from Compass Box. I’m not saying these whiskies weren’t well crafted because by all means they were. It’s just that bastard child of sherry and peat tends to make me cringe…until now. With this release Ardbeg has somehow isolated a great smoky nose and finish with a rich pruned fruit sherry taste and married then without disturbing the other. The palate doesn’t scream Ardbeg. It’s a delicious example of well sherried single malt that is sitting like a cherished pearl in the middle of a smoky Ardbeg storm. Color me very impressed.
Rating: Must Try
We would like to thank LVMH and The Baddish Group for sending over a sample for review.