Launched in 2019, the first release of Ardbeg Traigh Bhan was the first age statement whisky added to the list of permanent expressions from Ardbeg distillery in the past two decades. It is meant to be a an annual small batch release – we’ll try the latest 2020 edition, Batch No.2.
Pronounced tri van, it is named after a beach on Islay. It was drawn from a combination of American oak and Oloroso sherry casks and has been bottled at 46.2% ABV.
Ardbeg 19 yo ‘Traigh Bhan’ (46,2%, OB 2020, Batch #2)
Nose: a mentholated, fresh peatiness, wood smoke and Lapsang tea, mixed with the sweet and sour note of roasted pineapple and crisp apple. Almonds. Then a hint of resinous oak, salinity, eucalyptus and leather. Touches of sweet coffee in the background. Perhaps more medicinal and sharper than you’d expect at this age.
Mouth: sweet, with nice hints of dried fruits (Oloroso casks) but also brighter, slightly tropical touches (pineapple and apricots). Then a more gently peated side than the nose suggested. Warm ashes, smoked pepper, tobacco leaves, aniseed and salty liquorice. Finally also light tarry notes and toasted wood.
Finish: long, still gently smoked, with savoury oak, tarry notes and a hint of cocoa powder.
A nicely balanced Ardbeg that combines warm ashes and some fruity notes. I think the release price was around € 220, which makes it reasonable value in my opinion. Still available from The Whisky Exchange.
Update: now Batch #4 is here.