Elements of Islay Ar2 | 60.5% | Islay
, Scotland founded: 1815 | active
For more detailed mapping of the distilleries in the area from our whisky map page, use this link
Meet #9 | 09/04/11 | Hosted by Phil
As part of a world whisky extravaganza, we finished off in Scotland with a rather enticing Elements of Islay number - A meaty, hardcore Ardbeg.
It's a bit of a battle of nature vs manufacture, with all sorts flying up the nose. There's a definite chemical hit though, with creosote, an oil slick, (hot) rubber, bitumen and coal tar (soap) all popping up. These fiery thoughts are accentuated with burnt garlic, a gorse bush fire, burned wood yet some silage comes along to douse the flames. It strays into more normal territory with the presence of oats, heather, squash and pepper, presented by a real man. Don't forget the subtle hint of acidy, dewy grass and a bit of sweetness in the form of treacle and cocoa and of course for an Ardbeg, we have to tip our hat to the sea.
The nosings spread out a little bit into a plethora of nature's best offerings: plants and herbs (oniony fennel, coriander leaves, licorice and coffee), more tangy offerings (orange zest, aniseed, paprika and pepper) and some nice locations (a pebble beach with a fire, The Wickerman). It gets a helping hand from some man-made sweetness too with some dark chocolate featuring once, if not twice, and some simple syrup in there, as well as the sea returning in the form of burnt kippers. The medicinal factor is still there, as well as some burnt oil, wood varnish and cremation.
This Ardbeg was described as 'nervous and brutal' by WhiskyFun.
Finish & Comments
It's certainly got a long finish, bordering on the very long ("from dowwwwntown!"). It's definitely saltier with lingering, evoking thoughts of a salt lick. The fiery power from earlier is slightly subsided, now bringing warmth, charcoal and embers. Past flavours still feature (aniseed, coriander) but a few new ones make a first entrance and a final bid for freedom: shallots, brazil nuts and bothies wrapping up a wonderful dram.
We've always scored out of 10 in our group (see number in red box, below), with scores regularly given across that spectrum. The value out of 100 below is adjusted to the scale most commonly used for whisky reviews, to allow for better comparison.
97 / 100
Detailed scores (out of 10)
Tasting Game Points (out of 6)
[ for other thoughts on whisky and more in-depth activities of the group, check out whisky on meiotic