...where distraction is the main attraction.

Friday, April 2, 2021

Islay Balance 14 year old 2005 Old Particular Spiritualist Series, cask DL14031

So the waiter says, "Who ordered the medium Swedenborger with the Mesmertini"

And Douglas Laing exclaims, "I didn't mean that kind of spiritualism!"

Wocka Wocka!

(I'm only halfway through the Ardbeg reviews, people. It's all downhill from here.)

Actually, Laing's 'Spiritualist' series does reference both alcohol and something......something. Possibly theosophical-ish more than spiritualist? The official site links "mindfulness" and "ying and yang" to Laing's tempered poison.

Where do I even begin, I mean--

The actual liquid is not called "Ardbeg" but the Intertube Sayers say it's Ardbeg. And a 14 year old cask strength refill hogshead-aged Ardbeg is what we former Ardbeg fans wish LVMH would offer. But they don't, so we have to go to the indies for all the fun.

Distillery: Ardbeg (?)
Region: Islay
Bottler: Douglas Laing
Range: Old Particular
Age: 14 years (November 2005 - April 2020)
Maturation: refill hogshead
Cask #: DL14031
Outturn: 325 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 53.2%
Chillfiltered? No
Color added? No
(from a bottle split)


There's a sauté of peat, butter, cherries and apples in the nose's foreground. Fresh apricots and grapefruits somewhere in the middle, and Bugles corn snacks and cheap plastic toys in the background. It shifts a bit once reduced to 46%abv. Ocean, grass and roasted nuts take over. Hints of honeydew, anise and hay appear later one.

Seaweed, salt and sweetness appear in the palate first rather than peat, with minor notes of limes, pepper and bitter herbs in the back. It tilts towards Campari, lime and copper with time. It gets gentler at 46%abv, with mild sweetness, moderate soot and some grapefruit (IPA-style).

Again, there's less peat than expected in the finish. It's mostly salt, bitter herbs, tart citrus and copper. Once diluted to 46%abv, the whisky finishes with grapefruit, soot and salt.


I'm glad I could end the week on a positive review. The whisky isn't complex, but it does fill an empty spot on the OB marketplace. It is a reasonable, fuss-free and (yes) balanced Ardbeg. That combination of words is so detached from contemporary Ardbeg that I wonder if this really is Ardbeg. No matter. I'm sure Madame Blavatsky would approve.

Availability - European specialty retailers
Pricing - $140-$180 (w/VAT)
Rating - 86

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