The latest feat from the Wu Dram Clan is this Ardbeg single cask, a 2001 refill bourbon barrel. It is an official release bottled at 20 years of age.
Although selecting a private single cask from Ardbeg is a virtually unattainable job these days, they still managed to close the deal. A fitting tribute for their friendship, as co-founders Sebastian and Boris met for the first time on Islay.
Ardbeg 20 yo 2001 (46,6%, OB ‘Wu Dram Clan’s Private Reserve’ 2021, refill bourbon barrel #348, 155 btl.)
Nose: a slightly restrained nose with lots of oily and dusty notes. Charcoal and bonfires, tar and burnt heather. Flax rope. Hints of leather. Behind this there’s a layer of citrus (peel), Granny Smith and mint which lightens it up. Nice waxy touches as well, waxed canvas. A real gentleman.
Mouth: still a fairly elegant expression, albeit with deep sooty notes, plenty of herbal tea, eucalyptus and subtle pine resin. Fisherman’s rope. Dutch liquorice. In the background I find chocolate and toasted barley, as well as kippery notes and a pinch of salt. Lemon and salt. Overall surprisingly fresh and high-pitched, I’d say.
Finish: long, still very refined, striking a great balance between roased notes, smoke and citrus. A hint of tobacco as well.
The quality of this cask is on the same level as some of the 1970s casks. Simply a great Ardbeg and just 2-3% extra ABV would have made this even more heavenly.