Ardbeg released two experimental casks for Feis Ile. Both were filled in toasted oak. This is usually American white oak that has been processed and toasted by burning a fire inside of the cask. This can be minutes or hours depending on the temperature. Different temperatures highlight different flavours in the end result.
Ardbeg 1998 (54,7%, OB 2009, Cask #1190, Feis Isle 2009, 282 btl.)
Nose: pencil shavings, cigar boxes. Tobacco. Reminds me of old bourbons. Really delicious. Quite some vanilla, orange and peppermint. Coconut and red berries even.
Mouth: salty attack, hints of peat but very subtle compared to Ardbegs house style. Very sweet and round development. Milk chocolate with some cinnamon topping. Toffee. Truckloads of cocoa. Roasted coffee towards the end. Very balanced.
Finish: oak, vanilla and caramel.
Now I have to say I enjoy a decent bourbon from time to time (unlike the majority of single malt afficionados, or so it seems). This Ardbeg combines relatively docile Islay flavours with some of the typical bourbon notes. It does not contain much peat and is completely different from every other Ardbeg. One to try for sure.