...where distraction is the main attraction.

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Ardbeg 12 year old 2007 SMWS 33.139

That two-week Westland run was the least read cluster so far, and had the lowest weekly turnout since the last time I reviewed Japanese whisky. Sure enough, this week's first Ardbeg post's clicky count has already passed those Westlands. Scotch brings readers to the blog. Other countries' single malts appear to be of very little interest, while some bourbon fans aren't particularly happy with how I rate the oak juice. That's okay, single malt scotch is always served in my happy place, so I shall continue with the indie Ardbegs.

Today, it's a refill 'Beg butt bottled for the 2020 Feis Ile that never happened.

Distillery: Ardbeg
Owner: LVMH
Region: Southern Islay
Independent Bottler: Scotch Malt Whisky Society
Age: 12 years (24 May 2007 - 2020)
Maturation: 2nd fill Oloroso butt
Cask#: 33.139, "You would not believe!"
Outturn: 603 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 61.3%
(from a bottle split)


Mmmmm good nose. Oysters, herbal-tinged peat smoke, almond butter, and dried cherries live on top, with hints of charred and smoked meats linger below. The palate starts out with tar, umami, kiln, lime, and salt. It's gorgeously bitter. Charred green bell pepper and iodine arrive later on. It finishes tart, salty, and savory, with that herbal bitterness looming largest.

DILUTED to ~50%abv, or > 1¼ tsp of water per 30mL whisky

The nose keeps the oyster/beach note, but now there's a dirty boat dock too. Cinnamonny peat and pine needles stay in the midground. Dried cherries have joined the palate's excellent bitterness, while dark chocolate and kiln notes hug the edges. It finishes with kiln, dried savory and bitter herbs, as well as a little bit of basil syrup.


"You would not believe!"? Ardbeg, I cannot believe you let this gem of a cask out of your sight! It knocks the current Oogie batches on their arses. Aren't you charging like $400-$800/bottle for these official single butts now? So I guess this a "thank you". Thank you for letting this cask slip out so that SMWS could charge a mere $285/bottle for it.

This whisky market sucks.

Anyway, 33.139 is how I like my peat monsters, full of savoriness and ocean and bitterness and a hint of fruit. Adding water to it felt almost tragic, but luckily it held together. To those of you who haven't flipped this bottle, just know that at least you received high quality in return for all those $$$€€€£££.

Availability - Sold out
Pricing - $285 (I think) in 2020
Rating - 90 (neat)