Ready to rock and roll for Ardbeg Day 2018, which this year falls on June 2nd, the boundary-pushing innovators at the Ardbeg distillery have taken a trip down memory lane, back to a much groovier time for the Ardbeg village, and come up with a special release that’s had whisky bloggers scratching heads, but has a perfectly sensible explanation.
“Grooves” is the name of the newest expression from the Padres of Peat, and while it evokes many a memory (or lack thereof) of the summer of love, it actually pulls its name from the unique casks sourced by whisky godfather Dr Bill Lumsden. Tight lipped as ever (though we have a pretty good idea whence they might originate), the mad scientist of Scotland used ex-American casks that had had deep grooves carved throughout the inside, before being heavily charred, to maximise contact with the wood.
As stated, Dr Bill likes to keep the origin of his casks a bit of a secret, but he’s also sourced casks from Brown Forman in the past, and the idea for carving deep staves into the inside of the cask before charring has previously been done with Jack Daniels’ Sinatra Select expression. We’ll never know for sure, but you can do the math…
Either way, this is a seriously smoky dram. The Committee Release, which we were lucky enough to taste, has already sold out (do not despair, the main release will drop right before Ardbeg Day, keep an eye out), but it was everything you’d expect from an Ardbeg whisky.
Bucket loads of marzipan, cherries and hazelnut praline on the nose open to a rich spice at the front palate and a mildly sticky sweetness, which instantly turns into a lovely oily, mouth-coating iodine flavour (as to be expected), before a balanced, lenghthy finish. Needless to say peat dominates throughout the olfactory at every point. This isn’t as poised as the majority of their releases, but it is far more complex and interesting, and fits in nicely with their groovy motto for this year: “Peat & Love”.
Don’t be a square and secure yourself a bottle of the main release, it will be like, a total sell out, man.