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

Ardbeg 1975 43% vs Ardbeg 1972/2001 First Bottling Silver Seal 43%

This session proved to be a bit of a surprise. I had chosen these 2 because they were both pre-77 distillate, and produced during the period of semi joint ownership between Hiram Walker and an entity of DCL, that is to say no changes to the specifics of production in this period. Unventilated floor maltings in use – malt from Port Ellen did not really start coming in till the later 70s.  Also both are at 43%, and both bottled around 2000. But now I see that they have obvious differences – of course one is a general release large vatting, and the other is a single cask, and single casks will be single casks!

Ardbeg 1975 43% (bottled 2000)

Ardbeg 1975

Nose Nose: Tad simple but what counts is all there in good measure. Sweet crystalized lemons, an uplifting and fresh coastal salinity, a teaspoon of some clean light oil from some healthy seed. Buttered malt and a side of the cleanest black earth sans worms. One chunk coal, set aglow. Ok maybe even some fresh greens – spearmint or eucalyptus. Great integration and wonderfully clean just slightly smoky and nowhere near hugely phenolic.

Taste Palate: Well rounded and substantial but not massive. Clean oily weight and some subdued green crunchy fruit. Martime fresh and clean in parts again, with that clean earthy buzz. More seabreeze and salt than huge phenolics. More of those zesty crystalized lemons too. Approachable and great!

Finish Finish: Medium long with a zesty salty pucker and some earth and some wood.


I have been told this is very much in line with what to expect from a mid 70s Ardbeg, and I think I would agree with that generally, though it does seem gentler and simpler even than some early 70s or later 70s Ardbegs. Then again, this is a big vatting at 43% while many other great Ardbegs you would try from this decade are single casks at cask strength. Still, this is very very good.


Ardbeg 1972/2001 First Bottling Silver Seal 43%

Ardbeg 1972SSFB

Nose Nose: Yeah maybe this is not the best pairing to make. This one is big at 43% next to the 1975. Peat is turned up on this one, a deep tangy salty fresh, moistly vegetal peat, and behind that all sorts of ‘good’ moldy-sour herbals, like assam leaf and tamarind. Muddy brine thrown up by weathered rubber boots. Wet wood and clean decay. Oh someone did remember to bring a slice of lemon. Some vanilla, some old wax, and some tannins. Delicious.

Taste Palate: Very maritime, I guess quite classic? All on salt and crusty nets – salt in the water salt in the air. I suppose you could say fruits de mer. Hmm..  A fire burning hot rather than smoky – though smoke it certainly has. Peaty yes but clean rather than dirty and tarry. Again its all rather rather pristine and fresh. Nice sour citrus notes. Deeply polished wood and old dried up waxes again.

Finish Finish: Long, salty, some resin, and sour fruit. A real treat.


I did not expect the 1972 to feel that much more powerful than the 75 at 43%. Still, while the phenolics seem turned up there is really something of a core similarity between the two. Serendipity! Both Ardbegs seem to me to be of the simpler, more straightforward sort than say some beastly Intertrades you could have.

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This entry was posted on May 31, 2016 by in Ardbeg and tagged .
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