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Ardbeg 5-Year Wee Beastie

47.4% ABV - Islay, Scotland

Nose: Heavy peat smoke, lots of rubber, burning tires, butterscotch, and spent grain.

Taste: It’s quite smoky, but, again, I am detecting some form of a tire fire. Now there are roasted nuts and some indistinct grain sweetness… the barbecue is starting to go now, too.

Finish: The finish is a medium-length campfire… with some fine wood, fine incense, and light fruit.

The Ardbeg 5-Year Wee Beastie surprised me—or, at least I think I did. To be fair I didn’t know quite what to expect. I thought it would not be good… I have tasted quite a few 5-Year single malt whiskies and there are a lot of things that I don’t like about them. In particular, I think younger whiskies have this inescapable young malty–grainy–sourness to them. I feel that Wee Beastie has a bit of it, but it’s more complimentary if anything. It’s a great core range whisky by the Ardbeg Team—you have to appreciate that they aren’t going to release a bad bottle… lots of experience at that distillery to prevent it!

This Ardbeg 5-Year Wee Beastie was tasted side-by-side Kelpie and An Oa. I definitely prefer either of those to this one, but it was still a good whisky to drink. In full disclosure, this bottle of Wee Beastie was gifted to me and I have paid from my own pocket for Kelpie and An Oa—surely there might be some form of bias.

Details: Matured in ex-bourbon and Oloroso sherry casks.

Tasting Notes (Official): Senses are heightened with each encounter. First comes an intense aroma of cracked blacked pepper, mingling with sappy pine resin and the sharp tang of smoke. Suddenly, an explosive mouthfeel bursts forth with chocolate, creosote and tar. Savoury meats sink into the palate before the long salty mouthcoating finish slinks away.

Tasted 24 October 2021. (Posted 17 January 2021.)

80/100
Detailed Rating Information...

90+: Fantastic whisky; highly recommended. My favourite whiskies. I might have more than one bottle if the price is right and the supply is limited! The higher values in this range will reflect a stronger balance and consistency between components.
85-89: Great whisky; recommended. Whiskies that really tick the flavour boxes and you'll likely hear about these from me. Good purchase decision—I would consider buying again.
80-84: Very good whisky; recommended, but still consider trying before you buy. Anything is this range or above I would order at a restaurant or make a calculated purchase decision.
75-79: Good whisky; consider trying before you buy. These are whiskies that I enjoyed drinking, but likely would reach for another bottle from the shelf or select something different to order.
65-74: Average; consider trying before you buy, but not recommended. There is nothing that stood out about this whisky and I might be inclined to add ice, mix it with soda, or use it in a cocktail, instead of trying to enjoy its own flavours.
50-64: Bad; not recommended.


Whisky Bottle