After the Ardbog, the Auriverdes and the Perpetuum, we leave towards the dark side of Ardbeg, with this limited edition Dark Cove. Let’s see if we can rejoice from this Ardbeg Day 2016, under the signs of a bourbon-dark sherry double maturation.
Nose : We have a nice melt with a not burning peat. We have a meaty coloration with a medicinal peat (medicine chest) and linseed oil. We nearly sense a silky texture with walnuts, caramel and cappuccino. Then there are more chemical hints (rubber) with banana cream. We then pass onto cloves, caramel candies (Krema Batna) and pine resin with a pinch of salt. Next we have something fresher (pine needles) but we regret the little woody patina (green wood) that upholsters the whole.
After that, we have a bit of pickle juice that brings a bit of sourness with a return from the banana cream with some vanilla. Thankfully, it evolves again. In the end, it balances with camphor, coffee and a dash of blackcurrant. A nicely evolving nose that’s better when it shows more density. A bit frustrating at times but pretty readable. Water brings orange, a bit of lemon and reinforces the salt and the peat.
Regarding the cask, it is hard to make our mind… An Oloroso-Pedro Ximenez duo?
Mouth : The texture is pleasant with a well present warmness but the alcohol is a bit vivid. The entry is clearly rich with dark chocolate drifting towards strong espresso. We feel some smoke but mostly wood that rapidly comes infecting the whole. We also have a bit of lemon. Then it is a rat race concerning spices, with first some cumin and a lot of cloves. Sometimes, we swiftly have some cardoons notes, still with this camphor-pine freshness. We still are on a dryer and more direct profile than at nose and’s it’s a shame.
The water gives him a bit of sweetness back with some oranges, some coffee and a peat between camphor and smoked ham (minor) which grows. However, it blurs a bit the notes as a whole. We still are in this flavor rolling system made of very small groups. We don’t have an ideal clarity but it is a well made whisky.
Finish : With light smoke and camphor with the same spice bouquet (with a bit of dark pepper). The aftertaste takes again the sourness of the pickle juice with some smoke (dry ham) and strong coffee.