Islay Sponge Part 3 Kildalton & Cadenheads Authentic Collection Ardbeg 19yo


We're kicking off the week with a new Ardbeg release from Decadent Drinks/Whisky Sponge, alongside an older Cadenheads bottling. 

Islay Sponge Part 3 Kildalton

Region: Islay

ABV: 60%

Price: £195.00

The latest release from Decadent Drinks is a 14 year old Ardbeg that was distilled 2008 and fully matured in a refill sherry butt. Just 597 bottles were made available.

Nose

Initially we’re getting bacon rashers, mud, salad vinaigrette, Vegemite, and a little rancio. Giving it a little air and caramelised cashew nuts, dried cranberries, and smouldering embers appear. There’s good integration here between the cask and spirit, but should be noted it’s a more savoury still of sherry that we're getting.

Palate

Like the nose there’s cashew nuts, grilled meats along with tar, TCP, milk chocolate and a little Vegemite smothered on charred toast. there’s more sherry sweetness on the palate, but it’s still a drier style of sherry. Nice mouthfeel. There’s a reasonable back bone of smoke to the dram that’s well integrated with the rest of the flavours. The finish is a touch hot for us with cardamon spice lingering for a good length.

Nose (with water)

With reduction the nose has gingerbread, sour cherries, and more sherry vinaigrette. We’re also finding the smoke is showing a little more now. There’s also hints of wet sticks, toast, cloves and black liquorice along with more caramel.

Palate (with water)

It’s become much dirtier with reduction, with lots of ash, and soil. We’re also getting a slight bitterness from pomegranate and grapefruit. Finish remains a good length and the spice is better balanced for us. Mouthfeel remains good and most of the pre-dilution notes are still here. This has taken water well.

Conclusion

We keep highlighting the drynesses of the sherry because we appreciate that this will put some people off. We are not “some people”, so for us this is an easy 8/10.

Score: 8/10

Value

It’s a safe assumption that Sponge didn’t buy this as new make, and we've got to imagine they paid a pretty penny meaning £195 seems pretty reasonable to us. Still available at RMW at time of writing.


Cadenheads Authentic Collection Ardbeg 19yo

Region: Islay

ABV: 57.9%

Price: £210.00 (Auction)

A 1993 Ardbeg that has spent its life maturing in a bourbon hogshead before being bottled at 19 years old in July 2013. 312 bottles were released.

Nose

The nose opens with lemons, seaweed, vanilla essence, kiln smoke, dry roasted peat nuts, salty sea air, and just a touch of pepper. Going back after a little time, there's Edinburgh rock candy, tar, porridge oats, orange rinds, and a little dry dirt. A lovely nose and a great example of 1993/94 Ardbeg.

Palate

Smoked almonds, cream, lemon juice, lime, parma violets, blood orange rind, liquorice, and dark chocolate. The smoke appears as ash and burnt paper. The mouthfeel is lovely, akin to olive oil. There's a ginger nut/ginger beer spice that outlasts the other notes by a fraction on a good-length finish, but we're not complaining as the spice is neither overpowering nor unpleasant.

Nose (with water)

The reduced nose has butter, caramel, honey, milk chocolate, hessian cloth, and iodine. It’s a little more savoury now with lots of pistachios, and more of that dry dirt. There’s a nice syrup like quality to it now. It’s down to personally preference as to whether you would want water in this.

Palate (with water)

Like the nose the palate has become more syrupy. More of that ginger spice appears earlier on the palate now, but is still well balanced by the sweeter notes. It’s more herbal now with thyme, musk and a little ash. As we go back to it we notice more prominent citrus notes. The mouthfeel remains good. Again, personal preference if you add water to this.

Conclusion

Another great example of a '93 Ardbeg from Cadenheads. Not as good as some of the older releases Cadenheads have done like their recent 29 year old, but still great. 

Score: 8.5/10

Value

Great value considering the recent 29yo release from Cadenhead was £1,000 at release.

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  • 10 - Perfection. One in a million
  • 9 - Outstanding. Exceptional whisky.
  • 8 - Great. Would seek this out.
  • 7 - Good. Quality whisky.
  • 6 - Above average. Happy to have a dram.
  • 5 - Average. Drinkable whisky.
  • 4 - Below average. Passable.
  • 3 - Flawed. Noticeable negatives.
  • 2 - Defective. Significant faults.
  • 1 - Offensive. Pour it out.

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