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Thursday, April 15, 2021

Ardbeg 17 year old 1994 Murray McDavid Mission Gold

Hey, another Murray McSerious! How about that? I won't tell you how long this sample was burning a hole in its box, but those who remember the original whiskysamples.eu know well enough. I tried this one next to Wednesday's terrific MMcD Ardbeg.

Distillery: Ardbeg
Owners at time of distilling: Allied Lyons
Region: Southern Islay
Bottler: Murray McDavid
Brand: Mission Gold
Maturation: bourbon cask (hoggie?)
Age: 17 years (1994 - 2011)
Outturn: 305 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 56.5%
(from a purchased sample)


The nose has a machine shop note, full of hot metals and synthetic oils. It's youthful without being raw. There are cardamom pods, basil leaves, brown sugar and a zippy chile note. The peat reads much gentler than that of the LVMH Ardbeg spirit. It opens further after 45 minutes, with roses and Fig Newtons. Diluted down to 46%abv, it goes toasty, floral, yeasty and slightly peachy. Some basil and honey in the background.

Similar but slightly different than the 18yo, a distinct blueberry pie note appears early in the palate. It's peatier and mintier than the nose, and there's some mildly bitter molasses. At 46%abv the whisky reads simple and focused, with toasted grains and toasted nuts, soot and a hint of bitterness.

Soot and cigar smoke make up much of the finish, with quieter tangy and herbal notes in the distance. When reduced to 46%abv, the finish matches the palate.


That's one looooooong year of difference between the two MMcD Ardbegs. And, yes, a completely different cask. This is still a great whisky, and some folks may even enjoy it more than the 18yo. But the pirouette the 18yo pulls with dilution puts it over the top. This 17yo feels of a similar age to the Allied-distilled 10 year olds (one of which I tried with this as well), but this malt reads more industrial and herbal, which is a big plus for me. A good week indeed.

Availability - ???
Pricing - ???
Rating - 88

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