Ardbeg Ar11 is one of the latest Elements of Islay releases. Matured in a combination of American oak ex-bourbon and first-fill Pedro Ximénez sherry butts.
Ardbeg Ar11 2000 (56,8%, Elements of Islay 2019, 840 btl.)
Nose: pretty exemplary. Black raisins, figs, oranges, poached pears, with a nice juicy sour touch (rhubarb compote, citrus). Cold ashes and tar, seaweed, lovely tobacco notes and hints of leather. Light pencil shavings. Actually fairly elegant and not over-PX-ed, I like that.
Mouth: much more intense now, with a blast of camphory peat and rich smoke. Big peppery notes too, as well as clove, before it goes off to dark chocolate, liquorice, raisins, brine and tapenade, burnt caramel, dark roast coffee and herbal notes. Quite massive now. Water brings out more mocha and more woody notes.
Finish: long, with a return of plummy notes, alongside aniseed and peppery oak.
It’s only so often that you see Ardbeg sherry bombs, but they tend to be really good. Recommended.