This here expression/bottling was released in February of this year along with the 33.143. Just a couple months before that in November of 2015, SMWS released the 33.132. So I like to think of these as the SMWS Ardbeg trio since they were released about the same time and they are all 8 years old from a second fill ex-sherry cask. Triplets if you will. One thing to note about the 33.143 is that it was actually a typo and the the code was supposed to be 33.134 which makes sense considering the ordering. I find it amusing because I have noticed a lot of issues with the descriptions not matching the whiskies on the website. So clearly SMWS was having some trouble with their systems. Wouldn’t mind consulting for a whisky fee!
We tried this at the University of Edinburgh Peaty Tasting in May 2016. What is exciting about this bottling is that it’s an independently bottled Ardbeg matured exclusively in sherry casks. Plus these are second fill ex-sherry casks which seem to be very fresh so you get that big sherry influence. Heavily sherried ardbeg is not easy to find these days. The Uigeadail is supposed to be the peaty sherry monster from Ardbeg but in recent years the batches don’t seem to have the same punch as the older batches.
Then there was the next “let down” of the Dark Cove Feis Ile general release. The Dark Cove was advertised as the darkest Ardbeg ever but I am not sure what definition of dark they were using. The general release received mixed reviews but the committee release seemed to be a lot more popular. With the high prices and somewhat lackluster performances of recent Ardbeg limited edition releases, Ardbeg fans seem to be looking toward other sources for that big bold whisky.
This atmosphere is probably what prompted SMWS to release 3 Ardbegs all around the same time and at a fairly young age and at a fairly high price! Well it worked as these bottles sold rather quickly despite the high cost. I was skeptical at first but now I cherish the bottles of 33.132 that I had procured. I think these bottlings are truly special and with the constant increase in whisky prices they are starting to look a lot more reasonably priced. I am sure many will disagree with me on this but value is subjective after all!
Age: 8 Years Old
Cask: Second Fill Ex-sherry
Price: Came with package deal but probably around £120 on its own.
White pepper, pink rubber eraser sweetness, chlorophyll. Touches of dark aromas but they are masked by the first three flavours. The peat is there but also somewhat closed in due to the high ABV. Adding water would help those that want the nose to open up. I liked the compactness of it though.
Heavily sweet with a peanut Chinese porridge and peaty flavours. Sweet and spicy satay peanut sauce. All kinds of fruit and berries mashed together. The peat is in the background like a metronome keeping the beat.
Cool kind of minty peat. With peanut brittle. Crisp and fresh.
It’s a fun dram! Just lot’s of different things going on like an old timey three ring circus! Sort of has that bizzarro feel as well. It’s big and potent and feels kind of like a magic brew made by witches stirring a pot and chanting. With that being said, I think it may be a divisive dram. Certainly those who do not like peat will have issues with this but those who are peat heads may scratch their heads a bit with this one. The nose is a bit closed but would probably open up nicely with water (forgot to add some) but on the palate it’s an explosion and the finish is crisp but sustained. It’s a bit funky and if you like that sort of thing I think you’ll love this. Otherwise you may just pass it by like an old timey man walking past the entrance to the circus and shaking his head at the strange sounds and smells leaking from the big top.