Ardbeg | Gordon and MacPhail Connoisseurs Choice 1974 | distilled 1974 and bottled 1996 | 40 % |
Info: In 1974 Ardbeg still used its own malt, malted in their kiln. Later on they were mothballed (once again) and after that used malt they got from Port Ellen Maltings, like most distilleries on Islay do.Situation: During the Christmas Holidays 2017, listening to Dire Straits on the couch, being generally happy and thankful for all we got.
Nose: Old leather, chocolate, a freshly burned match, sulphur, walnuts, a bit waxy, slightly bitter peat, some raisins, fresh tar, salty, some oak as well as hints of heather and honey. The longer you nose it the more comes up and then fades again.
Taste: Watery entry, intense peat, iodine, dark chocolate, salt, oaky, licorice, tobacco leaves, BBQ spices, oily or creamy mouthfeel, leathery or tobacco, quite oaky!
Finish: Drying, leathery, chewing on tobacco leaves, really dark chocolate with a very high cacao content, smoke, quite long and salty, impressive given that it’s only 40%, this must have been incredible at cask strength!
Conclusion: Very interesting nose, the palate is hard to describe and more complex than my notes give away, it’s very drying, close to being over-oaked, the peat has some quite medicinical aspects you would rather attribute to Laphroaig, the tobacco notes are nice as are the chocolate parts. Overall not as mind-blowing as you would think, but still pretty darn good. The old Arbeg peat is also fantastic, spice-y, slightly medicinical, very leathery or like tobacco and chococlate, well, wow. If you like your old whisky oaky, you’ll love this! The finish clocks in way above its 40% punshline! A stunning and tasty piece of history.
Other whiskies with the same score: here