Ardbeg 17 is quite legendary in its own right. This was one of the early releases from the distillery after it was reopened and enfolded into the loving care of Glenmorangie in 1997. This wasn’t the best of Ardbeg, nor was it even really typical of the style we know (and love) today. Instead it was a rather tame, mildly peaty dram that was bottled at 40%. HOWEVER, there was no debate as to the inherent quality of the product. The whisky in the bottle was mature well beyond its years, as it was comprised of older, pre-closure, Ardbeg single malt, and it had mellowed to a spectacular balance and complexity. So sayeth the many voices out there: what ended up being bottled as a 17 year old was actually built with some casks much older. You have to remember, though, that this was before the current whisky boom and slightly ahead of that point where the stuff in the green bottle became a thing of near cult status.
But we’re here to talk about the stuff in the bottle, so let’s move on.
A few years back Ardbeg released an expression called Serendipity. It was referred to as a ‘happy accident’ or some such similar description. Serendipity was a blend of young Glen Moray and older Ardbeg destined to be bottled as the next batch of Ardbeg 17. Somehow these two component malts got vatted together. Oops. Anyway…long story short…the sweet bubblegum fruity profile of this Ardbeg is not far off the nose of that ‘incidental’ vatting.
Great whisky from Ardbeg, and sadly…long gone. I year for a day when we start to see older ‘age expression’ releases from this distillery again.
Nose: Clean…light…fruity. Austere. Some gum notes. Not toooooo far off the ‘Serendipity’ in terms of nose profile. Vanilla meets barley meets bread dough. Cream soda. Ummm…peat? Hello? You there?
Palate: A wee bit of spice and peat now come through. Vague smoke (almost as if an afterthought). Immediately into apple notes. Very light. Very short. Has a bit of a tangy citric nip.
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt