There are different versions of Ardbeg 1973 bottled by Sestante in Italy. They’re all 14 or 15 years old, some are bottled in clear glass, others in green glass. The best ones are bottled at cask strength, this one is at 43%.
Ardbeg 15 yo 1973
(43%, Sestante 1988, 75cl.)
Nose: very very gentle, like a herbal tea (chamomile, tilia). Some wet paper, dusty books, old chalk. Soft fruity notes like apples and melons. Sweet almonds. Dried seaweed, hints of canvas. Coastal hints as well.
Mouth: incredible smoothness with more cold ashes than actual peat. Very sweet, almost pastry-like notes and mint syrup. Marzipan and nougat. Something of cough drops. Sweet liquorice root and honey. Some anise seeds and candied ginger. Quite lovely but not the peaty kick you might expect from Ardbeg (even for 1970’s standards it’s very suble).
Finish: not too long, on mint and cocoa. Return of the chamomile.
Such a gentleman’s Ardbeg, with the soft ashes and plenty of honey. Rather atypical but really lovely. I can see why the higher strength versions became legendary. Around € 1000.