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Friday, February 23, 2024

Red Bag #1 (Ardbeg) 16 year old 2006 Dramfool

Yesterday's indie Ardbeg was a hardy, tarry creature from a sherry butt. Today's older Ardbeg, er, Red Bag comes from an ex-bourbon hogshead and has a much lighter color. Not only do I know little else about it, but I can't remember when or why I went in on this bottle split. Anyhoo, I tried it alongside yesterday's excellent 12yo SMWS.

Distillery: Ardbeg
Owner: LVMH
Region: Southern Islay
Independent Bottler: Dramfool
Age: 16 years (9 Mar 2006 - 18 Mar 2022)
Maturation: bourbon hogshead
Cask#: 53rd release
Outturn: 260 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 57.7%
(from a bottle split)


A quirky industrial, paralleling older Loch Lomond and Ledaig, arrives first in the nose. It lifts to reveal apricots, peaches, overripe cantaloupe, wet sand, chocolate, and soot-free peat. Oh the palate, though. Guavas, limes, tart nectarines, sweet plums, and kiwis! Of course there's also moderate peat smoke, a dash of salt, and a whiff of manure. The tart and sweet stone fruits, as well as the kiwis, live on into the finish, where they're met by salty peat and a slight herbal bitter bite.

DILUTED to 46%abv, or 1½ tsp of water per 30mL whisky

The nose is a beachside car repair garage filled with ripening guavas. Extra tart limes lead the palate, with salty toffee, milder smoke, and a soft sweetness beneath. It finishes with a stellar balance of tart, salt, sweet, and smoke.


Another fab single Ardbeg cask, showing a character opposite to yesterday's cask. In fact it's reminiscent of an older pre-LVMH Ardbeg style, where the peat supports all the other elements, rather than lording over them. The fruits were a very welcome surprise that won me over instantly. I would have never imagined fruity Ardbeg appearing in the 21st century. This would have been a stellar bottle to possess were it half (or a third) of its price.

Availability - 
Sold out

Pricing - over $350
Rating - 90

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