The Ardbeg Distillery is located on the southern coast of Islay, this region is renown for its peaty/smokey style. The moment you smell this scotch there is no mistaking its provenance. The nose bursts with a pleasant aged leather and underlying peat. Now peat you may not be familiar with if your preferences have been to stay on the smooth and mild bodied whiskys. Peat is a moss that grows in bogs or bodies of water (lochs in Scottish). The water and the peat are taken to produce this expression (a particular production). The barley is dried by smoking the peat, this process imbues not only the smoke but the peatiness that is so singular
The palate fill the mouth to the brim with a balanced mixture of sweet fruit and dark molasses which gives way to deep roasted barley and smoke. The fullness in the mouth is maintained straight to the finish.
The finish is strong in this one, as the palate dissipates the smokiness remains with caramel and sweetness emerging.
Overall, as powerful as it is, it remains a beautifully balanced affair. The is no rushing through this dram, it grabs your attention and holds it throughout. When I first tried this expression for the first time with friends, we all agreed that it was intense, requiring the addition of a moderate amount of water, to calm the smoke down. As i write the review either my palate has been accustomed or maybe I’m turning into a peat-head. Only time and more trial will tell.