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Ardbeg Kelpie

46% ABV - Islay, Scotland

Nose: Very light tropical and citrus notes with a strong backbone of peat smoke and ash. There is a distinct woodiness and a saline character.

Taste: Ash smoke, fruits—peaches and melons, with a sweet citrus, saltiness, and wood character. It’s both creamy and juicy, with a touch of vanilla and powdered candy.

Finish: It mostly leaves me with smoke and wood, spices, and a sweetness that reminds me of tiramisu.

Oh, wow! This is one of my favourite Ardbeg whiskies that I have tasted. It’s quite possibly the second-best ever bottle of Ardbeg that I have bought (next to the Dark Cove). I am sure glad that I have a backup bottle—and it’s the Committee Release!

Usually I like my Ardbeg a lot more fruity and ex-Sherried, like the Uigeadail, but there is something about these fresh casks they used. On the back label, it states "virgin casks crafted from the oak grown on land in the Adyghe Republic." (The Adyghe Republic is in Russia near the Black Sea.) Anyway, I’m not sure that it’s this type of cask per se that gives the amazing flavour… it might be the virgin oak/first-fill nature of it. I think that I tend to prefer flavours from those types of casks—Laphroaig has some delicious examples of ageing in fresh wood. I’m not sure how much of this "recipe" uses those special casks, but whatever it is I’m liking it.

Interestingly, out of the Ardbeg trio that I am tasting tonight, this has the lowest ABV!... only by 0.6% to the An Oa, but still interesting! This Ardbeg Kelpie was tasted side-by-side 5-Year Wee Beastie and An Oa.

Details: Ardbeg Day 2017. Ardbeg Kelpie is matured in virgin oak and ex-Bourbon casks, then blended together at unknown age and proportion.

Tasting Notes (Official): Herbal aromas tantalise the nose. Go deeper and discover smoky fudge, hickory wood, seaweed and smoked fish—a depth telling of its ties to the Black Sea, the journey of its casks across the oceans and the waves of flavour they have created.

Tasted 24 October 2021. (Posted 17 January 2022.)

95/100
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