This is the sister cask of the Ardbeg 1998 cask 1190 that I reviewed yesterday. Both are matured for 10 years in new, toasted oak hogsheads that are usually reserved for American whiskey. Both were distilled 11 May 1998 and bottled 10 December 2008.
Ardbeg 1998 (54%, OB 2009, Cask #1189, Feis Isle 2009, 252 btl.)
Nose: the cigar boxes from Cask 1190 are here as well, but there’s more pine tree and resinous notes in this cask. Polished furniture. A lot of wood, but absolutely georgeous. I think Ikea should dedicate more time to the smell of their stuff, this is what it should be like. Vanilla ice cream. Berries and cream. Menthol and delicate herbal notes (eucalyptus, herbal tea). Tobacco. Some pepper. Again no prominent peat but a very complex and integrated ensemble.
Mouth: very sweet, creamy vanilla with a roasted / salty edge. Some liquorice. Cigars. The lightest of tars. Sweet moccha and chocolate towards the end.
Finish: not too long on spicy smoke and rather sweet toffee. Roasted coffee beans. Dry oak in the end.
Excellent results. If this was really a one-time experiment, then that’s a big shame. Both Ardbeg casks are fetching unethical prices on eBay but they are stunning casks. I don’t see much differences between the two, but this one was a little bit more complex.