Review: Ardbeg An Oa Single Malt Scotch Whisky by Jason Hambrey

PX Sherry, Charred New Oak, and Ex-Bourbon
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Ardbeg (Port Ellen, Scotland)

This Ardbeg has a bit of a focus on French oak, and introduced as part of Arbeg’s core range in 2017. As is the growing trend these days, it has some charred new oak in it and was married in a French oak vat to bring together the varying flavours created from the sweet, dried fruit character of the PX cask, the creamy corn influence from the ex-bourbon cask, and the oaky, sweet character of the new oak.

Review (2019)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: L70562 13/07/2018 18007341 11:42

  • Bottling Date: 2018

The nose is so rich – cacao, deep smoke, charred lemon peel, fresh lemon peel, rich earth, ground unroasted almonds, baking spices, iodine, turf fires, and biscuits. A touch of brilliant minerality, dried brown rice, dried apricot, prune, plum jam, and sharp smoke. A fascinating nose, and very Ardbeg. The youth is a bit present on the nose, but it’s a good youth.

The palate has an incredible dried smoky character to it, like charred chickpea or nut skins. Further, rockpools, white pepper, and coconut oil. And some sweet oak, ketchup (indeed), and a finish full of a smoked sea character (smoky seaweed, smoked fish, etc.). The finish is dry, oaky (French oak, quite so), ashy, and slightly marine. Minerality comes out on the finish more than other places.

A very nice whisky. How does it compare to the 10? This is a bit younger (more oily, a bit more raw) – smokier but not as fruity or balanced, or, indeed, as intriguing. But a bit bigger, and perhaps richer – but less mature. So, it depends what you are after. I like both quite a bit, but prefer the 10, which has the best of this – but more elegantly integrated and balanced. All that to say – this is still fantastic, and it’s a welcome addition to the range for me.

Very Highly Recommended (18% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average. A very nice peated whisky, but at a price. On a value scale, it’s better to go for the 10, which I find a tad better, and is a bit cheaper. Nonetheless, this is a decent buy if you like smoky, peated whiskies.

Review: Ardbeg Perpetuum Single Malt Scotch Whisky by Jason Hambrey

Ardbeg Perpetuum 2.jpg
Bourbon and Sherry Casks
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Ardbeg (Port Ellen, Scotland)

This is the Ardbeg limited edition 200th anniversary bottling, blended to commemorate Ardbeg's "past, present, and future" - but there isn't much information beyond whatever that means.

Review (2017)

  • Batch: 200th Anniversary

  • Bottling Code: L61542 19/02/2015 15001508 08:25

  • Bottling Date: 2015

A sharp, ashy nose – rockpools, lemon, sharp smoke, peat bog, vanilla, custard, cayenne pepper, dark chocolate, iodine, eucalyptus, and almost a bit buttery at this proof with the young oiliness of the distillate coming through. The spice on the nose is intriguing. The palate is quite light, and full of blackened chickpeas, wet earth, smoke, ash, vanilla, and a bit more cayenne. Raisins and dried apricot are barely present, but there. The smoke is light on the sweet start, and it slowly starts to grow until the finish, where it continues. The finish is light and yet tannic and a bit tangy, with roasted root vegetables, rockpools, and smoke. Very enjoyable, and yet still lacking what I long for in Ardbeg.

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Low. This comes are a pretty high price.