In homage to Islay’s Oa peninsula, this is the first new whisky to be added to Ardbeg’s core range in almost a decade.
The southernmost of the Inner Hebridean Scottish Isles, the island of Islay (pronounced EYE-lah) is only 240 square miles and home to just over 3,000 inhabitants. Still, the island is one of just five distilling regions in Scotland whose identity is protected by law.
Ardbeg Distillery, which is situated on the southern coast of Islay, was founded in 1815 by the MacDougall family. By 1886, nearly one-third of the population of Islay worked at the distillery and today, it stands as a testament to Scottish heritage and tradition.
Ardbeg Single Malt Scotch Whisky is made from malted barley, which is peated to approximately 50 phenol parts per million (in contrast, Leviathan II Whiskey is peated to 110 phenol ppm, while Octomore 5.1 is peated to 169 phenol ppm). Once the peated barley arrives at the distillery, it is milled and mashed with water sourced from Loch Uigeadail, which is situated approximately 3 miles away from the distillery.
Then, the mashed barley is fermented in washbacks made of Oregon pine. While wooden washbacks are more expensive and difficult to maintain as compared to stainless steel washbacks, they absorb a portion of the heat generated during the fermentation process and thus, create a lighter and richer whisky. In addition, the wooden washbacks contribute estery, carbolic compounds to the whisky.
Following fermentation, which lasts for 55 hours, the wash is distilled twice, first through a copper-pot wash still and then again through a copper-pot spirit still. The spirit still is equipped with a purifier, which acts as a small condenser and causes a portion of the evaporating vapors to be pumped back into the pot and then re-distilled. This purification process, which is rare in the industry, results in whisky that has a signature fresh and malty flavor.
Ardbeg An Oa is the first new whisky to be added to Ardbeg’s core range in almost a decade. This NAS single malt is comprised of whiskies of different cask types – including Pedro Ximénes, spicy virgin charred oak, and ex-bourbon casks— married together in Ardbeg’s bespoke French oak “Gathering Vat” in the distillery’s Gathering Room, a former grain store.
The expression is in honor of Islay’s Oa peninsula. Home to Ardbeg, the peninsula is also home to the Lagavulin and Laphroaig distilleries. Nonchill-filtered and bottled at 46.6% ABV, this limited edition has hallmark Ardbeg peat notes, flavors of dark chocolate and aniseed, smooth, silky butterscotch, black pepper, and clove.
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93.2 (46.6% ABV)
This product is not available in AA, AE, AK, AL, AP, DE, HI, KY, ND, OK, PA, PR, TX, UT
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Smoked applewood, creamy toffee, aniseed, treacle, dates, peach and banana on the nose. A drop of water releases aromas of lime, pine resin, fennel, saddle soap and tar, candle wax, hints of smoked herbs, and subtle briny notes. Sweet flavors of milk chocolate, treacle toffee, aniseed, orange and smoky tea leaves, gentle, sweet spices (nutmeg & cinnamon), some cigar smoke, grilled artichokes, wood, and gentle nutty flavors on the palate. The finish is long and sweet, with floral overtones, mint toffee and some gentle malty biscuit notes and smoke.