Ardbeg Very Young Review

Ardbeg Very Young

58.3% abv



When our saviour, Glenmorangie PLC, came to the aid of malt lovers ’round the world, purchasing the defunct remains (and priceless old stocks) of Ardbeg, little could they have foreseen the coming renaissance that they would be responsible for.  This event, in the year of our lord, nineteen and ninety-seven, marked the birth of a movement.

Daily…globally…legions of Ardbegians swoon and hang on every word uttered about Ardbeg like the second coming of this Islay distillery is no less relevant than the…

Wait…’saviour’…’renaissance’…’second coming’…

Before I finally cross the line into explicit blasphemy (which I do frequently, but not often in the greater blogosphere if I can help myself), let’s settle down and focus on the malt at hand.  Ardbeg Very Young.

After a significant amount of investment on the part of Glenmorangie (pounds, time and labour), the copper stills bubbled, the new spirit flowed and whisky met wood.  Six years later, in 2004, Ardbeg had in hand the first in their ‘Path To Peaty Maturity’ series.  Though old Ardbeg is the stuff of legend, and well nigh worthy of killing your first-born for (sorry…couldn’t help myself), how would this new Ardbeg distillate hold up?  Exceptionally well, it would turn out.

Nose:  Fiery, fiery pepper and dry smoke.  Young chilis and spiced greens.  Lemon and peat, freshly grated citrus zest and newly cut hay.  Grassy with subtle splashes of milk chocolate.  Ripe and sweet…just emerging.

Palate:  Spritely and alive.  A coarse pepper bite meets brine and seaweed (nori).  Smoky bonfire and a sweetness reminiscent of chewing the soft centers out of grains right off the stalk.

This really is a great young Ardbeg.  I’ve seen some rather unforgiving notes on this one, but I don’t buy into that line of thinking.  Score well-deserved and rather indicative of the possibilities open to a distillery with a spirit this clean.  No…this is not over-rating it.


– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

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