Ardbeg Kelpie, NAS, 46 %

Ardbeg KelpieThe annual Ardbeg Day release is upon us. This time around we are treated to the Ardbeg Kelpie. Now, what manner of beast is this, you may ask? Surely there is something new, unusual, exciting, or plain old gimmicky about this release. Well, you are right. The good people of Ardbeg Distillery themselves claim this might be a first. This is a scotch whisky matured in virgin Russian oak, from the Republic of Adygea, also known as the Adyghe Republic. This is a federal subject of Russia, with its territory enclaved within Krasnodar Krai, near the Black Sea.

I have certainly never tasted a whisky matured in Russian oak before. The closest I have come, is having whisky matured in Swedish and Hungarian oak. Both of these impart a rather spicy character to the whisky, and heavy wood sweetness. I am having a bit of trouble with how virgin Swedish oak works with whisky, where as Hungarian oak is more varied – but challenging. So, it is very interesting to see how Russian oak plays out.

The Ardbeg Kelpie is just released and you can order it directly from Möet Hennessy at GBP 98. Expect it to become available in both Norway and Sweden shortly, as well as on all the regular online shops.

Nose: Soothing, mild and sweet smoke. Notes of ash, hints of ashtray actually. Some oakiness. Warm, full and rich on the nose. Dark chocolate memories.

Taste: Medium body. White pepper and chocolate. Oranges with a touch of bitterness. Toffee and smoked bacon.

Finish: Medium long finish. Oaky top notes. Milk chocolate, chocolate milk and hints of mint.

Comments: A fine Ardbeg Day release. Much on par with releases over the last few years. A bit pricey this year though.

Score (86/100)

– Thomas