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Monday, January 9, 2017

Single Malt Report: Serendipity (Ardbeg + Glen Moray) 12 year old Blended Malt

Okay, I have a week full of Ardbeg "special" edition things to review. In order to have the time to complete it all, I'm going to try to keep the posts shorter. That never works.

If you thought Wild Turkey Forgiven was the first of the "Oops, look at what we did. We're so stupid, we shouldn't be responsible for making widely sold commodities. But here, you should buy it for more than our purposely made products" type of whiskies, then you'd be wrong. Back in 2005, Ardbeg released Serendipity, their "Oops, you got your mayonnaise in my peanut butter" whisky.

Apparently they accidentally mixed old Ardbeg (stories range from 17yrs to 24yrs old) with 12 year old Glen Moray. 80% Ardbeg and 20% Glen Moray, is their story. And there was enough Oops for 16,000 bottles. Bottled at 40%abv.

Of course the same company accidentally did something similar with the exact same accidental ratio of 80:20, a few years earlier. Wondering why the hell they'd make Serendipity on purpose and thus dispose of so much old Ardbeg? It's not impossible that Ardbeg had a lot of underproof casks which needed to find a home. At its original price, the full Serendipity release grossed nearly one million dollars. So I'd say those Oops casks found a financially viable residence.

Crap. I said I'd keep it short.

Great picture, bro.
Thing: Serendipity
Company: Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy
Type: Blended Malt Whisky
Distilleries: 80% Ardbeg, 20% Glen Moray
Age: 17-24 year old Ardbeg and 12 year old Glen Moray, thus it's a 12 year old whisky
Maturation: ???
Limited bottling: 16,000
Alcohol by Volume: 40%
Chillfiltered? Yes
Color added? ???
(Thanks to Whisky Brett P. for most of the samples this week!!!)

The color is light gold. The nose is somehow both wood pulpy and grainy. Citrus bathroom cleaner, burned sneakers and pears. Acidic oatmeal (not a thing). The weakness of the peat is fascinating, and not in a good way. There's a milky buttery thing in there. A wee wee wee hint of tropical fruit. More than a wee wee wee bit farty. VERY grassy. Smells like one of my own terrible blends. The palate starts of chocolatey and malty. Pipe tobacco and toffee, with a dark berry element underneath. Not bad, but it's thin and watery. Grows more one-dimensionally acidic with time. It finishes both creamy and acidic. Burnt stuff. Some pears. It has a decent length, but an icky chemical citrus aftertaste.

COMMENTARY
or rather
QUESTIONS?
--If this is a mix of 20-something year old whisky and 12 year old whisky, then why is it grassy like a single digit whisky?
--If it's 80% Ardbeg and 20% Glen Moray, then why isn't the Moray absolutely buried in this blend? Even if it was 80% Glen Moray and 20% Ardbeg, it wouldn't read as Moray-heavy as this. Is there something else in the mix here?
--If not, then how awful were those Ardbeg casks? Couldn't they have been sold to Murray McDavid to be salvaged with a nice Mogen David Blackberry finish?
--And where the hell was the SWA during this release? Ardbeg was leaking spraying out this recipe like an incontinent duck after his third espresso. If the SWA threatened to send John Glaser through the spanking machine for revealing less than this about his blends, then why didn't they take away all 38 of Bill Lumsden's cats?
--If Serendipity tasted like it smelled, would I have barfed?
--What the hell is going on here?

Availability - the secondary marketplace, and maybe a dozen European retailers
Pricing - $150-$250, though Winesearcher shows the average price is now where it was five years ago. I can't imagine that's a super sign in this market.
Rating - 72 (dat nose tho)

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