Yes, the full name is The Character of Islay Whisky Company, but if I write the complete independent bottler name in my title, Google is not going to be happy about the title length. Anyway. We’ve recently reviewed the four Ardbeg Traigh Bhan 19-year-old batches on More Drams, but we have not reviewed any independent bottling of an Ardbeg before. Maybe because those are quite rare…Read more
Ardbeg introduced in September 2019 a new expression to its core range, featuring an age statement: Traigh Bhan. Aged 19, Traigh Bhan (pronounced try van), is a yearly batch expression, where Ardbeg does not seek regularity. Each year, they clearly show the batch number on the label, with a code showing when it was distilled, as well as short tasting notes giving the profile of this batch. Whilst Ardbeg’s marketing is running full steam with its Ardbeg Day (both Committee and Regular releases) expressions, with each expression’s backstory more over the top than the previous one, the marketing for the 19yo is here quite soft, and I must admit I like that they don’t invent crazy stories to justify the difference of each Ardbeg Day release, be it a fermentation length or a cask char or what the cask held before or whatever. Here, it’s just new Traigh Bhan batch, slightly different profile, and that’s it. Since the release of this expression, we’ve had now four batches, so let’s compare all four of those Ardbeg Traigh Bhan 19-year-old whiskies.Read more
Earlier this year, the famous Islay distillery Ardbeg announced a new addition to its core range with the Ardbeg Wee Beastie. Unfortunately, the pandemic happened around the launch. That and a surprising launch calendar. Some European countries (Germany and Netherlands) got it first back in March, while it only arrived a week ago in the UK. And for my great sadness, it is still unavailable in France except for a few eligible cocktail bars. Not even my usual whisky bar is eligible (they’ve confirmed me that earlier this week). Why this surprising way (to stay polite) of getting a new release out to the hordes of peated whisky fans? Beats me. But since it’s the first official Ardbeg releases we’re reviewing here (we’ve reviewed a couple SMWS), as usual, let’s introduce the distillery first. After that, we’ll do an Ardbeg Wee Beastie vs Ten review.Read more
When I joined the SMWS, I first did it as I wanted to partake of some cask strength unfiltered goodness. Obviously, for a whisky aficionado, this is one of the good places to be a member of.
Then, at one random point in time I realised there was an “event” category on the website where things were actually organised. I remember thinking – surely there’s nothing in Paris. Boy, was that a stupid thought. You can find the full account of my first SMWS tasting session here.
This time around, yet another discovery: I realised there were events in a small committee at a Speakeasy where whiskies were paired with cigars. My blood just went boiling at the sheer idea of the combination of both, being a fan of cigars (H. Upmann & Romeo y Julieta in particular if you wish to know).
So I purchased my ticket and eagerly went to Gentleman 1919, in Paris, a quite excellent venue. It was 21h. I got back home at 1h45. Here’s why.Read more