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Review: Ardbeg Perpetuum

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Ardbeg Perpetuum bottle & carton (NXPowerLite)

Ardbeg Day (May 30) is almost upon us, and as usual that means a new Limited Edition whisky from this classic islay distillery.

2015 marks Ardbeg’s 200th birthday, and for this momentous occasion the distillery has produced a special bottling: Ardbeg Perpetuum, an expression “inspired by the man styles, ideas and quirks of fate which have influenced Ardbeg recipes over time. It combines different styles, different flavours, different dreams and different trials, all skilfully married together in a melange of the very best Ardbeg has to offer.”

That means Perpetuum is a recipe that includes some very old and very young stock, aged in both bourbon and sherry casks, “and some surprises which hint at the future.” What that means, we can’t say for sure, but here’s what the whisky tastes like.

The color is moderate straw/light gold, hinting at youth. The nose cuts a familiar Ardbeg profile — sweetly smoky, like barbecue smoke, with a salty backbone. Don’t make any judgments yet, though. The body is something else entirely. Brine and seaweed hit the palate first, with less smoke than you’d think. Then comes a rich sweetness — honey, apricot jam, vanilla sugar, and some dark molasses on the back end. The finish has a sulfury edge to it, showcasing charred wood and dark chocolate, completing the tour of duty that takes this whisky from salt to sweet to bitter, all in one quick gulp. It’s incredible stuff that deserves a lot of time and even more introspection — and which stands as one of Ardbeg’s best releases to date.

94.8 proof.

A / $100 / ardbeg.com  [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS]

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Christopher Null

Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content company.

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7 Comments

  1. Gregory May 18, 2015

    Got my hands on a bottle and it has that peaty smoky flavor that La Phroaig regulars like myself are drawn to. Feels like I am sipping the ocean breeze on the Isle of Islay. Starts light and clean with hints of floral and fruits, then creeps in the peaty sea flavors followed by a deep long bold smoky finish. I rather enjoy the strong 94.8 proof as this whisky has legs. Probably my favorite Ardbeg ever. Perpetuum while the names means forever I doubt my bottle will last that long.

    Reply
  2. ArcAngelMD May 18, 2015

    Nearly $200 here in Canada after tax. Harsh price, sounds like an amazing Scotch though.

    Reply
  3. Anonymous May 18, 2015

    This must be some pretty good scotch whiskey @ 94.8 proof and $100.00 per bottle. Usually the higher the octane the better the flavor. I will have to see if my local distributors carry this one.

    Reply
  4. anonymous June 3, 2015

    Got an inside source here in BC that says if we get any, it’ll be close to $230.

    time to move out of this country.

    Reply
  5. D Rock June 25, 2015

    Picked up a couple bottles at my local Costco Liquor for under $90 a bottle. Less peat than the typical ‘beg with more sea salt and oak flavors.. Very nice. Grab it while it lasts…

    Reply

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