Ardbeg An Oa is named after the Mull of Oa on the Kildalton coast in the south west of Islay. In the summer of 2017 it was the first addition to Ardbeg’s core range in the last eight years.
The recipe is based on a combination of seven different types of casks: Pedro Ximénez casks, heavily charred virgin oak and first-fill bourbon casks are the most important. These have been married in a large French oak vat housed in The Gathering Room at the distillery.
Ardbeg An Oa
(46,6%, OB 2017)
Nose: fresh with a mezcal-like straightforwardness at first, a bit uncommon for Ardbeg. However it develops a good balance of sweet and dry aromas. Sweet lemons, fennel seeds, acrid peat smoke and vanilla. Not much PX to be found, the virgin oak being a bit louder in any case. Some seaweed and menthol.
Mouth: slightly thin, with the same acrid toasted notes, a faint tarry note and then some wood spices (pepper, ginger) and chocolate. Black tea. Grapefruit.
Finish: okay, on spicy notes (peppercorns, clove), light chocolate and bonfire smoke.
Ardbeg An Oa deserves its spot in the core range. It is rather light, yet (virgin) oak-infused and reasonably smoky. A slightly toned down version at a decent price. Around € 55.