So here we are rounding third. Ardbeg’s next-to-last step along the way to reaching a standard ten year old release. So this, rather logically, would be a nine year old. (I say ‘rather logically’, however this four part series actually only saw releases at 6, 8, 9 and 10 year marks).
So…the name of this expression begs the question ‘almost there to what?’ Simple answer…a flagship 10 year old comprised of distillate produced entirely in the age post-restart-up.
Coming into the homestretch it must have been a hell of a pleasant run for the guys and gals at Ardbeg when they realized that there was a rather decent shot at restoring the distillery’s stocks to the quality they once were in its earlier incarnation.
The nose on the Almost There is wet rock, salt and smoke. Lemon peel and vegetal peat notes. Cereal notes still carry through, with the barest dash of almond paste. Vaguest hints of some sort of white fruit. Maybe, jus’ maybe, a bit of some sort of ‘lemon clean’-type polish. Anise or fennel, and powdered ginger (not the fresh stuff!).
Smoke and sharp tangy citric notes hit the palate first. A salt licorice flavor too. And to compliment the salt? Pepper, of course. The grains are there with a touch of oak and vanillins at the end, meeting that familiar tartness on the finish. At this strength you get to see all the beautiful nuances Ardbeg is now being recognized (and lauded) for.
Underdeveloped? Sure. Unrestrained? Absolutely. Rather exceptional for this age? Hell yeah!
On to the Renaissance…!
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt