So much whisky, so little time | Singapore | Tasting Notes

Ardbeg 17 yo 1994, Cadenheads Cask Ends,

This will be an interesting post : )

Perhaps the most ‘cult’ of the big 3 on the Kildalton shore – good lord have you seen the auction prices on these green bottles!

The upside of being a cult whisky – there are people who know the real deal inside out. Like this guy: http://www.ardbegproject.com/ and this guy: http://www.ardbeg.eu/index.php

Eventful the history of Ardbeg may be, there is really nothing I can say that these knowledgable gentleman do not have on their websites. In fact if you are hungry for information, by all means pillage their sites till content. But I will say that from a drinker’s perspective, this is a fascinating distillery to explore (if you have the cash too) as there are clear ‘chapters’ in the nature of the spirit –

Pre 1976: Ardbeg was owned by DCL and Hiram Walker. Whisky from this period is lauded as the best ever produced. (1974!) Being old style, unventilated floor maltings and all. And of course commands big bucks today.

1977 – 1989: Ardbeg was owned by Hiram Walker. Floor maltings were closed in 1977 and from this point the peated malt was brought in from Port Ellen.

1989 – 1996: Allied Distillers bought out Hiram Walker. Ardbeg was closed from 1982 to 1989, and from then to 1996 it was run just a couple of months a year. Apparently a lot of these were filled into old refill casks, and the famous purifier was not working due to lack of maintenance.

1997: Glenmorangie plc buys Ardbeg, and in 2004 Glenmorangie plc itself is sold to LVMH. Glenmorangie made many changes to the production processes including the yeast, fermentation periods and choice of casks (50% fresh bourbon, 50% refill?). Malt comes in at 54ppm and the new make has about 24ppm.

Today LVMH is of course a listed company, but the drinks division (Moet Hennessy) is 66% owned by LVMH and 33% owned by Diageo, making Diageo by corporate structure part owners of Ardbeg, Glenmorangie and Glen Moray distilleries.






Ardbeg 17 yo 1994, Cadenheads Cask Ends, Bourbon cask, 56.8%


Yeh.. there’s not even a good picture of it to be found.

Nose  Nose: Immediately peaty and coastal, just a teaspoon of medicine in this one. Full of hot tar, hemp ropes, sweet sooty smoke, hot metal tins. White pepper too.  A ‘standard’ heavy hitting Islay profile but not the most complex extraordinary.There COULD be some pear drops but the peat overwhelms it. With water: big difference. Clears up with lemon, candied giner and pepper and smoked herring?

Taste  Palette: Big sweet resinous peat, punchy and earthy and ‘wet’. Hot smoke and warming with that zingy ginger. Quite ‘dirty’- dirty seawater and old nets. With water: Lemony again, and more candied fruit  appears.

Finish  Finish: Medium-long, salty, smoky and warm afterthoughts.


Powerful and straightforward though not exactly complex, whip this out as the pre-barbie drinks.


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This entry was posted on March 26, 2014 by in Ardbeg and tagged .
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