Ardbeg – 1975 Limited Edition – Bottled 1999

It’s been far too long since my last whisky posting, but here we are, relaxing on a Sunday evening with Karen’s parents visiting, sampling a rather nice bottle of Ardbegdistilled in 1975, bottled in 1999 and bought about 5 years ago, I guess. Certainly before we moved to the US.

This is a peaty, peaty malt from Islay. It starts off very smooth (not surprisingly, as it spent 24 years mellowing in the cask), then the peat hits you. It’s by no means overpowering, but it’s certainly all there. The finish is heather and smoke. A very fine dram indeed – highly recommended. If you can find a bottle of the 1975, you are lucky indeed, if not, then all of the Ardbeg is good.

(On a whim, I just searched Google Products for Ardbeg 1975 and it found a bottle on eBay. You can ‘buy it now’ for a nickel under $530. Hoo-wah!)

Talisker Distillers Edition – finished in Jerez Amoroso wood

With an annoying cold on my chest, tonight seems like a night for Talisker – that most warming of single malts. I have the ‘Distiller’s Edition’ – distilled in 1986 and finished in casks that previously contained Jerez Aromoso. Talisker is the Isle of Skye’s only distillery, and has a reputation for fiery, peppery malts. The Distiller’s Edition is mellowed by the sherry finish, but the fire is definitely still there. I’m afraid, due to my cold, I can’t report on the ‘nose’, but from recollection, it has a nutty, toffee aroma. Tasting it, the toffee is definitely there, giving way to pepper with a hint of seaweed. The pepper continues in the finish with a salty seaside tang.
If the regular Talisker is a bit much for you (are you listening, Ken?), this might be just your cup of tea glass of malt. Mmmm – I feel better already!

Port Ellen – 19 year old McGibbons Provenance Bottling

I picked this bottle up some time ago at (I think) the whisky shop at Heathrow. It was distilled in spring 1982 and bottled in spring 2002 as ‘over 19 years old’. Now this is a special whisky; Port Ellen closed in 1984 and is now partly demolished. The maltings survive, supplying malted barley to the remaining Islay distilleries, but the stills are gone forever.
Pale gold in colour, with a slightly salty, slightly sweet nose, this is not a heavyweight Islay malt in the style of Ardbeg or Laphroiag. Smooth and sweet on the palate, the finish is long and strong – smoky, salty with a hint of that seaside iodine tang. I could drink a lot of this one…