Whisky Reviews

Ardbeg 1998 Renaissance


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I won’t be going in to too much historic detail of the distillery for once, as there is just too much to say about the whisky itself (and the path Ardbeg have walked us down in getting to this expression). Fear not, though, I will no doubt review other Ardbeg expressions in the future and include a bit of distillery background, for those of you who normally enjoy that part of my reviews.

Okay, so what makes the 10 year old Ardbeg Renaissance so special? Would you believe me if I said that the casks were filled to half with horseshoes and rabbits feet and half whisky, in hopes that it be blessed with incredible fortune? Wait! Don’t run away, I may have made that up; I don’t think it would pass food standards if it were true, but it certainly would’ve been interesting. Perhaps they should try it for their next expression. What actually makes it special is that Ardbeg have released (as, in fairness, distilleries often do) small batches of this whisky through its maturation period. Namely:

1)      Very Young at the tender age of 6

2)      Still Young at the still tender age of 8

3)      Almost there a year older, so that’d make it 9

4)      Renaissance which is the final expression, a 10 year old

The 6 year old exploded in popularity and the limited amount released went quickly, which bodes well for the 10 year old final release. I don’t actually own a bottle myself, but recently had some at a whisky tasting. The nose is complex, packed with impressions, including a distinct fruitiness (apple, citrus, peach), syrup, coal, woody smoke, peat and aniseed. It’s nice and warm on the palate, starting off rather fruity and syrupy which melts into smoky coal with a hint of chocolate and (I have to admit I got this one from the official tasting notes, as I couldn’t quite put words to it myself) toasted banana, licorice and a zesty citrus peel. It’s delicious.

Eye: light to medium gold

Nose: Summarising this isn’t easy but; fruit (apple, citrus, peach), syrup, coal, woody smoke, aniseed and peat.

Palate: Warm and oily, fruity, somewhat syrupy, smoky coal and a hint of chocolate, toasted banana, licorice and zesty citrus peel.

At under $80, I would run out and buy a bottle straight away if I were you, as I would imagine it will sell out rather quickly. Heck, buy 2 and you may even be able to sell one off in a few years time and make a nice little profit!

Want to buy this whisky? Available in: UK & World (click)

About Whisky Critic

My name is Martin and I live in Scotland. I love fine things in life, such as gourmet food, travelling around the world and, last but not least, whisky (naturally, I’m partial to a tipple of whiskey or bourbon as well). I have tasted hundreds of whiskies during the recent years and I finally decided to share my experience.

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