Ardbeg Wee Beastie & Ardbeg Kelpie Committee Release


A budget Ardbeg core bottling and a committee release for today’s reviews.

Ardbeg Wee Beastie

Region: Islay

ABV: 47.4%

Price: £39

This particular core range bottling was matured for five years in ex-bourbon and oloroso sherry casks.

Nose

We’re getting hay set on fire, salty sea air, and a meatiness that’s like a roast chicken over a campfire. There’s also some lemon zest and thyme bundled in there too. Air reveals butter along with some freshly cracked black pepper. We’re also getting a young spirit note sitting in the background.

Palate

On the palate there’s burnt baking paper, black pepper crusted pork steak, and some woody vanilla in the background. The smoke is there, mixed in with tar, ash, and earthy minerals. There’s a creamy, buttery texture to the dram, but the finish is shorter than we’d like.

Nose (with water)

Now we’re getting must, malt, and yeast, significantly more-so than without water. There’s a sandy minerality here too. We’re also getting some faux-beefiness like bovril. Weirdly, we’re reminded of being in a swimming pool - as we’re getting a chemically, chlorine type aroma.

Palate (with water)

Reduced palate has a lot more cakeiness, but followed instantly by ashy smoke and vegetal earthy notes. A little flat with water though, but theres a nice background sweet oak flavour here.

Conclusion

At its price range, you’d be hard to find a better bottle of peated whisky. Saying that, we’d probably add a few more quid and go for Ardbeg Ten or Ardbeg Uigeadail as there’s a little more complexity to those drams.

Score: 8/10


Ardbeg Kelpie Committee Release

Region: Islay

ABV: 51.7%

Price: ~£200 (Current auction price)

Released in 2017, Ardbeg Kelpie Committee Release was matured in a mixture of Black Sea oak and ex-Bourbon barrels.

Nose

Initially on the nose we’re getting plastic, cloves, a vanilla note that is very reminiscent of a bourbon, some fresh coastal notes, herring, seaweed and seawater. The peat is sitting in the background, and not as noticeable as we were expecting.

Palate

On the palate the peat is more noticeable and we’re immediately hit by smokey bacon. and tar. There’s also some interesting floral notes here mixed with sweeter notes such as milk chocolate and lemon bonbons.

Nose (with water)

The reduced nose is much sweeter, think sea salt caramel ice cream mixed into a Maltesers McFlurry, with some treacle in the background. Very light peat now.

Palate (with water)

We’re now getting less peat. Think log burning smoke, with some black pepper. Definitely less sweet now with the floral notes becoming dominate. Short finish on this with some warming chilli.

Conclusion

Personally we’d skip water as this doesn’t need it. Without water and at the original RRP (which would have been around £79) this would be an 8/10. However, at auction prices we’d say skip and get something else instead.

Score: 7/10

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  • 10 - Perfection. A whisky that we’ll remember forever.
  • 9 - Amazing. We’d pay through the nose for a bottle.
  • 8 - Great. Pick this up at RRP.
  • 7 - Good. Happy to have a dram or two but wouldn’t buy a bottle.
  • 6 - Passable. Would accept a dram, but wouldn’t seek it out.
  • 5 - Poor. Would drink if it was the only option.
  • 4 - Bad. Maybe it can be saved by ginger beer?
  • 3 - Awful. It can't be saved by ginger beer.
  • 2 - Pour it out
  • 1 - We’ve never tried a whisky rated this low and hopefully never will.

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