Ardbeg 11 year old SMWS 33.109 “Delightful intensity of Sherry”

First review to start after a while of blogging vacation. This is an Ardbeg distilled August 1998 and bottled in 2010.Matured Refill-sherry butt. It was only available to members of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society and could be bought for around 70 euro’s. Funny part of this Society is that they don’t mention the distillery on the label, just the numbers (in this case it is there 109th bottling of an Ardbeg) and they name it beautiful as is this one. It is cask strength at 55,6%. Let see if it can hold against the Sherried OB from Ardbeg itself.

The nose

Intense aroma’s appearing after pouring the dram, lots of fruity sweetness at first, but then accompanied by salty, coastal peaty tones. Very intense aroma! BBQ smoked spareribs as I tasted some days ago at a friend’s house, don’t know his marinade. Quite a lot of sweet fruits as in peach, caramelised orange or orange marmalade. Some hints of balsamic vinegar and of course dried sultanas. All balanced out with a pleasant touch of smoke, ashes and salty brine. Sweeter and less dark then the Uigeadail. Like it!

The palate

Doesn’t show the 55,6%. It is more Ardbeg, lots more smoke, ashes, burnt oak. Still salty, but freshened up with again those fruited notes of the sherry cask. Dark chocolate, roasted meat and tobacco. Feint hints of Lapsang Souchong Tea infused with rose pebbles (I know this combination doesn’t exist, but it combines the Lapsang with a Tea infused with cinnamon and rose pebbles). Less the very intense nose which pleases me more!

The finish

Tons of smoke and ashes. Quite drying, some woody spices. Light form of sherry, much more youthful and playful hints of the sherry cask (fruits). Again BBQ smoked/grilled meat. Coastal and burnt.

The Balance

Very pleasant Ardbeg which I can’t compare to one of the present OB’s. It is far not as sherried as the Uigeadail, but it is very good balanced albeit that the nose is the best part of the dram. Islay and Sherry can go well together as I still keep noticing (have several Sherried Islay in my possession and I like them generally a lot as a lover of sherry and peat).

Conclusion

First dram of this independent and it will not be my last. Problem with this IB for what I heard is that they do not offer consistent quality; luckily they do sell samples to members (or get involved in a bottle share). This Delightful Intensity of sherry is all what the description promised, but is still lacking somewhat to be high up in the 90’s or even in the low 90’s I am stuck at 87 points.

 

 

 

About gjr71

Whisky enthousiast, working for a auditing firm. Loves Whisky, Wine, Music and a good meal.
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