Single malt whisky - tasting notes

09 Apr 2012

Ardbeg 1965 (Cadenhead)

Posted by: Ruben Luyten In: Ardbeg

We’ll go back in time a little further and try this Ardbeg 1965. Rarely seen and way too expensive to even think about acquiring. Distilled April 1965 and bottled July 1978.


Ardbeg 1965/1978 CadenheadArdbeg 13 yo 1965
(46%, Cadenhead 1978, 75 cl)

Nose: very clear metallic notes, say silver polish. Some wax and minerals. Also wet wool and a bit too much cardboard. Slightly disappointing, certainly because it does show a soft fruitiness hidden in the back. Old but not a classic Islay profile. I’m wondering how much of this comes down to the original spirit and how much to bottle aging. Mouth: not very punchy, again quite metallic, with different sorts of mint (fresh mint, mint tea). Cough drops. Herbal liqueur. Big hints of tea as well. Not exactly what I expected (hardly any peat for instance) but quite enjoyable. Finish: not too long, dry with traces of wood and metallics again.

I’m not really sure how to score this Ardbeg. I haven’t tasted many things like this and the metallic nose and shy finish seem to indicate it might have spent a few too many years in the bottle. The result is a very expensive cough syrup. Around € 1800.

Score: 83/100

Ardbeg 1965 (Cadenhead) 3 Ruben Luyten 2012-04-09
  • Michael

    Does whisky really change in a bottle? I have not seen any conclusive proof for it. Anyway, I do not think that anyone buys this whisky with the intention to drink it :-)

  • Ruben

    It’s probably impossible to give conclusive proof but it’s at least remarkable that bottle aged whisky often displays metallic notes, silver polish, plastics and such. Also, heavy aromas such as peat or sherry tend to be flattened a little. Is it the light, the glass, the air or simply a different production era? I’m not sure but I’m pretty convinced that nothing can be perfectly stable over the course of 35 years…

  • Michael

    Thank you Ruben. Interesting comments. I try to keep my older whisky in stable temperatures and in very low light and I am hoping for the best.



September 2014
« Aug    

  • Roberto Sikora: This is really a great, great bottling. One of my favourite Littlemills so far... :-) Thank you, Ruben for this review!
  • george: i see you have tried st magdalene and say it is harder to find i am a collector of st magdalene and i have 40 bottles i am selling these date from 196
  • sjoerd972: I wish the guys at Bushmills would demand the labels to say "Northern Ireland" so we didn't have to speculate on the booze's origins.

Coming up

  • Bowmore Devil's Casks - Batch 2
  • Tomatin 1988 (Malts of Scotland)
  • Aberfeldy 12 Year Old
  • Blair Athol 2002 (Hepburn's Choice)
  • Fettercairn Fior
  • Bowmore Laimrig 15yo
  • Ben Nevis 2002 (Port cask #334)

1600 notes by Ruben

WhiskyNotes - Ruben LuytenThis blog is my personal collection of impressions, written while searching for the ultimate single malt whisky.