...where distraction is the main attraction.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Single Malt Report: Ardbeg Blasda

Yesterday was Ardbegish Serendipity. Today it's Ardbeg Blasda. Both appear, on the surface, to be Ardbeg Lite, less peat, more diluted and filtered.

I don't think Blasda sold particularly well. Though it was released between 2008 and 2010, I remember seeing bottles still selling at their original price in 2012. And it's still pretty easy to find in Europe, though at a premium price. Regarding the peat measurement, I've read two takes: the barley was peated at 8ppm; or the whisky in the bottle is peated at 8ppm. Those are very different things. 8ppm in the bottle isn't that low. As noted by Serge, that might be close to Bowmore's levels.

One final thought. Seven to ten years ago, whisky fans were openly grumpy about Serendipity and Blasda. Why isn't anyone, other than two or three dickish bloggers, publicly taking Dr. Bill to task for his crummy releases now?

This pic is even better than yesterday's.

Distillery: Ardbeg
Ownership: Glenmorangie Plc (owned by LVMH)
Type: Single Malt
Region: Islay
Product: Blasda
Age: NAS, natch
Maturation: Whiskybase says sherry hogsheads, but I have a difficult time believing that
Limited bottling: 18,000
Bottling years: 2008-2010
Alcohol by Volume: 40%
Chillfiltered? Yes
Color added? ???
(Thanks to Whisky Brett P. for most of the samples this week!!!)

Its color is a very light amber. A good sign. It has a peaty perky nose, much brighter and friendlier than regular current-era Ardbeg. Lots of young stuff, like green grass, cinnamon and estery fruits (or is that fruity esters?). White gummi bears, honey and ash. Hints of farm and leather; thus the cow, before and after. The palate leads with vanilla, confectioner's sugar and milk chocolate. Sweet and malty. Lime juice and earthy peat. A good tartness and a slight plastic note. An easy drink that's a bit thin at times. It finishes with a touch of prickly ethyl heat. Vanilla, sugar, grains and lime. Hints of smoke and salt.

Blasda is better than its reputation. I mean it's REALLY young, but it's okay. There's plenty of peat but it's reserved enough so the rest of the spirit's characteristics don't have to fight for scraps. It's a shame this one got trampled on, while a number of lesser special releases (that were sold at higher prices) were celebrated.

There is room in Ardbeg's range for something like the Blasda, though maybe a little stronger and unfiltered. And probably older. I wonder if Lumsden totally gave up on this stuff. Or is he going to have the last laugh next decade when he drops the Blasda 21yo and it's genuinely gorgeous?

Availability - the secondary marketplace, and a few dozen European retailers
Pricing - $140-$240
Rating - 82