Fires of hell, is this hot! Unbelievably explosive. Ardbeg rarely fails to deliver an enormous whisky, both in terms of aloholic content and a flavor profile so defined it is nearly a caricature. “Renaissance” is no exception. This is the fourth installment in Ardbeg’s “young” line, which has allowed us to witness Ardbeg maturing from “Very Young” to “Still Young” to “Almost There” to this ten year old cask strength…”Renaissance”. Brilliant little campaign that I wish we Westerners had been allowed to partake in. Sadly none of these expressions hit Canadian shores.
Recent trips to Islay have allowed me the opportunity to try all of these young beasties however (and perhaps mule a little home for my personal stores), so why not share a few details?
The nose on this hot young cracker is peppery like a young talisker. Freshly cracked black pepper. The chocolate and fruit notes are reminiscent (no kidding) of a Cadbury Fruit & Nut bar. Sharp peat, citrus and smoke are generously splashed all over a clean medicinal backdrop. Though the nose doesn’t hold a candle to the tang of the palate on this one, I am blown away by just how razor-sharp it is. Almost brittle.
First sips…kinda like tongue-wrestling a mouthful of porcupines. Prickly as hell. Hot and peppery, smoky and peaty. Some smooth chocolate here as well, but think mole chile. I adore the firey anesthesia that comes part and parcel with this Ardbeg. When the heat finally wavers a touch (some time later) what remains is the typical green apple skin peatiness and a tart, drying mouthfeel.
Not my favorite Ardbeg, but still head and shoulders above 95% of its contenders.
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt