Although I didn't have any other Ardbeg on hand to compare it to, this appears to be the same old, same old. Love it, sure! But I'm starting to get a little bored. It is a great excuse to stock up on more Ardbeg every year (if I haven't already), but all the hype just tends to be a letdown. Alas. (It isn't all that bad, keep reading)
Made the tasting more interesting by doing it side by side with Lag 16 and Laphroaig Cairdeas Origin (2012).
Found Lag 16 had a bolder, sweeter nose, followed by a much more complex palate that introduced a heavier smoke than the Bog.
The Cairdeas was by far the sweetest nose and the palate continued with a balsamic tangy sweetness that stood out from the others.
The Bog was definitely more earthy and mossy, as it's name rightly suggests. It did maintain that sweet Ardbeggy quality you'd expect (almost too accurately). As much as I complain about Ardbeg's "safe" releases, I would be devastated to see those qualities disappear from any of their expressions (just don't put those qualities in all of them!)
The nose was very pleasant, sweet and inviting. Grassy, rainforest, new car, and corned beef. Go figure.
Smoke presents itself more in the palate. Still sweet though. Actually kind of one dimensional here. I like what it is, but it just kind of stops.
After a pause, there is a nice delicate fruit candy (green apple jolly rancher maybe?) that leaves you desiring for more and more and more.
The more I compare, write and think about it, I get frustrated that Ardbeg's potential doesn't seem to be reached.
Retaste: Generally less enthusiastic than I originally was. Graded down a notch.
n: Very earthy nose, like a freshly dug garden and wet vegetation. Lots of salt and a faint bit of citrus in the light BBQ smoke. Baked ham and green olive brine are my main notes. Lighter on the peat, more wood char & soot.
t: Ashy, grey sea salt, torched caramel. Soft and very salty (smoked salted ham juice and a touch of lemon). Very briny and then a hint of sweeness with cinnamon and caramel. Afterwards comes the peat and iodine notes, but these are subdued and are more toward a BBQ meat flavour. Finish is of tar, vinegar and sour rag. I guess that's where the "bog" comes in.
Not exciting for a special release. I wish they would make something unusual with these "___"day releases. Please Ardbeg, go out on a limb and make something memorable; we can drink Uigeadail or Corryvreckan year round. [C+/B-]
Moldy damp decaying wood that is burning. Mossy tree. Cinnamon shavings and bits of sherry. Some citrus and restrained peat. Smells of shrink wrap. Plasticky initially on the palate with peat and lots of bitterness. Med Light salty finish that's fleeting. The nose reminds me of Connemara Bog Oak.
The nose is peaty with a malty background. On the palate it comes across as very young with some almost new makey notes followed by bold, sweet peat. The finish is like licking a big slab of peat. Okay, I've never actually done this, but you know what I mean.
This is a bold whisky with sweet, peaty notes that tastes much younger than ten years. In fact, tasting blind, I pegged it for closer to five years old. It's definitely a step up from the Galileo, but while it's decent, it's not particularly special and is certainly not something I'd recommend for the $100 price tag.