Ardbeg Release Limited Edition Perpetuum to Celebrate 200 Years of the Distillery
What Ardbeg say:
Every year, the Islay Festival of Malt and Music takes place in May or June on Ardbeg’s island home. On the festival’s final Saturday, Ardbeg Day, the Distillery traditionally throws open its doors to welcome fans from all over the world.
In 2012 Ardbeg Day became a global event, enabling the whisky’s passionate international following to take part in a worldwide celebration of all things Ardbeg. This year, Ardbeg Day celebrates the single malt’s 200th anniversary by looking forward to the next 200 years. Fans of the whisky will be invited into a retro-futuristic version of Islay in 2215, where hover boards and robotic dogs are the norm at the Ardbeg Distillery.
Ardbeg Perpetuum is inspired by the many styles, ideas and quirks of fate which have influenced Ardbeg over time; it combines different styles, flavours, dreams and trials. Connoisseurs will taste a never-ending, rich and enticing combination of classic Ardbeggian notes and incredibly creamy flavours.
Dr Bill Lumsden, Ardbeg’s Director of Distilling and Whisky Creation, said: “Ardbeg’s character has endured for 200 years and we hope it will continue for centuries to come. The 2015 Ardbeg Day anniversary bottling, Ardbeg Perpetuum, celebrates this milestone year with a recipe that includes some very old and young Ardbeg, silky Ardbeg from bourbon barrels and some spicy Ardbeg from sherry casks. The resulting expression combines classic notes of dark chocolate and treacle with sea-spray, peat smoke, vanilla and a hint of sherry casks, to create an unforgettable single malt with an aftertaste that is never-ending.”
Official Tasting Notes:
Ardbeg Perpetuum is a deep amber-coloured single malt, containing the unmistakable Ardbeggian aroma of tar, soot and pine resin, with dark chocolate, treacle and sea-spray. Its intense taste juxtaposes peat smoke and spice with creamy vanilla and milk chocolate notes, followed by a never-ending aftertaste of linseed oil, a hint of sherry cask, creosote and tar.
What we say
We are very interested to try this, as it’s fair to say, that some of the limited edition bottlings have divided the Ardbeg fan base. Another NAS whisky, although there is both very old and very young whisky included, although just how young “very young” is and more interestingly just how old “very old” is, is anyone’s guess. There are rumours that Ardbeg have been focussing too much on the gimmicks as oppose the whisky itself and this will hopefully either prove or disprove this fact.
Medicinal notes are there right from the start, sticking plasters, old lint bandages, dry gauze and TCP. There is a uplifting hit of fresh lemon and salt, it’s briny, with seaweed and old damp jetty’s. This is unmistakably coastal, close your eyes and you’re at the ocean, the hemp of the ropes, the salt of the ocean, the seaweed, damp sand, it’s all there, but then the fruits start to make their entrance.
It steps away from the tang of the lemon and suddenly it’s taken a turn for the sweeter, ripe red apples, meet nectarine and peach kernel, with warm banana bread lurking behind it all. The peat is unmistakable and it’s taking no prisoners, but it really is mouth-watering with smoky, sweet hoisin notes and juicy plump raisins and plums, yet still backed up with the powerful lemon sour note.
Surprisingly first up are some incredibly sticky jam like notes, it’s packed full of dark fruits, blackberries, blackcurrants, figs, dates and with that comes cinnamon, cloves and Chinese five spice. The vanilla hits the palate and this releases wave upon wave of chewy toffee notes, manuka honey and candyfloss.
There’s dark chocolate, but it’s bitter, like cocoa nibs, with hessian sacks and new leather. The intense spiciness continues, it’s charred steak coated in BBQ sauce with coal dust and old damp logs on the fire and all the while the lemon and sea salt journeys around the palate.
Long and lingering, the peat delicately kisses the roof of the palate, while the toffee and creamy vanilla notes coat the inside of your cheeks, this is a chewy finish that begins to dry leaving toasted oak and tannic tea leaves.
What a dram! The complexity of the medicinal notes on the palate, the uplifting, zesty lemon, the sea salt, the way this transports you straight to Islay. The chocolate notes that are oh so inviting yet bitter, and the sweetness of the vanilla, with the abundance of fruits. For me it’s everything I look for in a dram and I genuinely don’t care that it’s NAS,
I don’t think knowing the age of this whisky would make any difference, it’s all there, the nose, palate and finish, all in perfect harmony. This is the Ardbeg I know and love, I could drink this every day and never tire of it. A return to triumph in my humble opinion and you had better believe I’ll be standing in line to pick up a bottle of this, for drinking not collecting, and I can’t wait, it’s time to believe the hype.
Kirsty Clarke (@KirstyClarke29)
Salty lemon water is the first thing I notice, this is quickly followed by a very medicinal note reminiscent more of a Laphroaig than an Ardbeg. The peat is there but not overpowering, more a gentle smoke than a bonfire. The nose is also quite drying but in a way that invites you to take a sip.
Like the nose the first thing that hits is a very salty lemon juice, this time joined by fresh seaweed. This dances around on your tongue, spicy with a peaty tang, not overpowering in any way, just the perfect mixture of spice and peat. The lemon makes a return along with a slight hint of milk chocolate but this is quickly replaced with more spice and the medicinal notes from the nose.
The finish is very satisfying, very warming but not hot, the peat hangs around along with a touch of the spice as an invitation to pour yourself another dram.
This to me is a wonderful whisky and one that I would gladly have on my whisky shelf. After being surprised by the Auriverdes last year, I would say that this continues in the same vein but better and I think it justifies its price tag. This is one I would happily drink all night without ever thinking of picking up a different bottle. Wonderful.
Stewart Craigon (@StewartCraigon)
With a big thanks for the official sample.
Don’t forget as mentioned, Perpetuum is released 30th May 2015 – “Ardbeg Day” with an RRP of £84.99!