Ardbeg TEN L7 46%

It’s Ardbeg Day today. Ardbeg Perpeteuum is being launched it honour of the day, but since I’ve already published tasting notes for that, I had to find something else. So here’s a ten year old bottled in 2007 (which is what L7 means, in case you want to check the batch number markings on your Ardbeg bottle).


Nose: Slate and bonfire. Dry leather. Over ripe banana. Sand. Water brings out yeast and maritime smokiness.

Palate: Bonfire, salty water and seashore. Something fruity behind it all. With water the fruit turns to unripe bananas.

Comments: The classic, and very, very good. 2007 is “old” Ardbeg. I need to get my hands on a recent ten years old to compare.

Ardbeg Perpetuum 47.4%

Ardbeg celebrates 200 years this year, and naturally there are some new releases involved. The first was called Arbeg Perpetuum at 49.2%, available at the distillery only (Thomas has tasting notes for that one over at Whisky Saga). To celebrate Ardbeg Day, another version, also called Perpetuum, is being released. It was made available from the Ardbeg web shop on the 4th of May to Committee Members only, but the committee is no longer a small, select group, and the web shop crashed. A lot of people decided to wait for world wide release, to happen on Ardbeg Day, 30th May. But in Norway we have the Vinmonopol, and they operate on their own schedule, with no nods to *cough*hyped*cough* Scottish distilleries, so that the Ardbeg Perpetuum that became available to order on the May release last week (8 May) is the Ardbeg Day version at 47.4%. I got mine today, and naturally had to try it at once.


Nose: Warm, peaty smoke, grilled banana, grilled apples, vanilla, some dusty malt. The smoke aqcuires a colder note with water, and I get wool dust and wellies. And “pulverpadder” (a sweet very like tyrkisk pepper, but with a dusty coating).

Palate: Concrete dust, peaty smoke, vanilla ice cream and black pepper. The finish is bitter, dark chocolate. With water I get slate and cold smoke, something fruity in the background and still vanilla ice cream.

Comments: Moreish. I am an Ardbeg-fan, still, even if the prices are getting more than somewhat ridiculous (even with this one, almost 1000 NOK for a NAS? That’s stretching it, if you ask me). But even so I am pleasantly surprised. I like Perpetuum better than I have liked most recent new releases from Ardbeg, partly because it’s more complex than the  run of the mill “heavily peated NAS” (even Ardbeg’s own). Worth the price? Well, I don’t think I’m going to stock up, but I am pretty pleased with the purchase.

Lagavulin 3 Years Cask Sample

IMG_1339Nose: A hint of barnyard on this one, too, but mostly quite clean smoke. Less fruity than its baby brother, but some pear peel and winter apples. The barnyard disappears entirely with water, and I’m left with smoke, iron, slate and a hint of sulfur.

Palate: Now we’re talking! Too much alchohol at this strength, but still smoke, roots and coriander seeds. A little fruit appears with water, but mostly there’s smoke and more smoke.

Comments: They could bottle this, but I think I will advise maturing it for another 9-13 years. It’s nice now, but it gets better.

Lagavulin Newmake

IMG_1873Nose: Sulfur, apricots and recently extinguished match. With water I find more tropical fruits, “grønnsåpe” (a traditional soft soap) and ashes, and a barnyardy note.

Palate: Barnyard, ashes and apple peel. The most intense barnyard character luckily softens with water, and I’m left with red apples, peat and ashes.

Comments: I can’t remember the rather intense barnyard notes from the last time I tried this, but then that was in the warehouse at Lagavulin and I don’t know how clear-headed I was (not that I’d drunk much, neccessarily, but just being on Islay can turn your head, you know). Once it’s softened on the palate after a sufficent amount of water has been added, this is a pretty good dram, but not so good that I wouldn’t rather have them mature it for a few years. I’ve tasted far better newmake (even this  week just gone) considered from a “drinking it as it is” point of view.

Kilchoman New Spirit 5 months 63.5%

Distilled 27 Juli 2007, 50 ppm in the malt, matured in an ex-bourbon cask, bottled 26 February 2008.


Nose: Railway sleepers and rusty iron. Apple sauce, apricots and cucumber. With water jasmine and cardamom.

Palate: Soot-covered iron construction. More ashy with water, with an underlying fruitiness.

Comments: Where can I get a proper bottle rather than this puny 5 cl? Makes me wonder what the point is to years of maturation, when this is perfectly delightful as is.

Bunnahabhain Ceòbanach 46.3%

Ceòbanach is a new limited release NAS bottling from Bunnahabhain (apparently around 10 years old). It will be released in Sweden in February and probably in Norway in March. The name means “smoky mist”, which sounds promising. We’ll see.

Nose: Noticeable smoke, fresh peaches and red currants, then fruit compote. Malt loft (malted barley and dust). Water brings out lemon or tart melon and bonfire (there may be some painted or varnished wood on the fire).

Palte: Smoke, freezer ice (the one that forms on the inside of the freezer walls), black peppercorns, sweet peach (but much less fruit than on the nose). Still mostly smoke with water, but smoke containing a lot of other things. Is someone burning juniper wood? Has someone thrown a bag of peppercorns on the fire?

Comments: One of those where you could spend an evening trying to put names to what you’re smelling and tasting. As it’s also exceedingly nice, I can’t ask for more. As a session dram I think I’d prefer it without water, but for the full experience a few drops are neccessary.

Ardbeg 1998 11 years Dun Bheagan 56.2%

From a barrel with cask number 1782, June 1998-2010.

ardbeg_11_dunbheaganNose: Clementine peel, especially the white part, quite sweet malt, grist (a lot of flour), leather sofas. With water the grist solidifies into whole barley and I get some lemon as well.

Palate: Asphalt dust, cold smoke and coal.

Comments: Yummy. Very nice mix of grains/grist and smoke.


Bowmore White Sands 17 years 43%

Nose: Raspberry sweets, bonfire smoke and blackcurrant bush. More spice on the nose with water, but also malt. Ginger snap bisquits.

Palate: Fruity smoke. Peat smoke, tropical fruits, raspberries. Cold rock and singed wood on the finish. With water the malt makes its appearance, and I am reminded of cherry pie.

Comments: A successful combination of fruits and smoke. I will definitely purchase one as a session whisky on a suitable occasion.

Thanks go to Geir Tore for the sample.