The Ardbeg Distillery, while renowned for its distinguished spirits, is also famed for its location. Recognised by both the rugged locals and the more delicately attired visitors, the distillery often endures gusty winds, relentless rain, and ghostly mists. However, its potential onslaught by nature's fierce moods is mitigated by the protective embrace of the Mull of Oa.
Serving as a natural barrier, the Mull of Oa stands tall, sheltering the distillery from the Atlantic's formidable wrath. It is this geographical marvel that inspires the creation of Ardbeg An Oa.
Mirroring the roundness of its geographical muse, Ardbeg An Oa's character is noticeably rounded and mellow. This unique character is shaped by its time in the distillery's innovative Gathering Vat. Here, a blend of diverse whiskies from varied cask types - ranging from the sweetness of Pedro Ximenez and the spiciness of Virgin charred oak to the depth of ex-bourbon casks - come together. As they meld, they produce a whisky that's a harmonious blend of Ardbeg's signature peat, dark chocolate, and aniseed, cushioned in velvety butterscotch, black pepper, and clove. The resulting experience is a powerful, evolving symphony of flavors.
In its essence:
- Non chill-filtered
- Matured in a combination of Pedro Ximenez, Virgin charred oak, and Ex-bourbon casks
- NAS (Non Aged Statement)
- 46.6% ABV
- Appearing as a delicate shade of Light Gold
Ardbeg An Oa isn't just a spirit; it's a tribute to nature's protective might and the artistry of whisky-making.
Tasting Note by Ardbeg:
Nose: Peat infused with zesty lemon and lime, wrapped in waxy dark chocolate. Bold menthol and black pepper slice through the sweet smoke followed by tarry ropes and graphite. Savour the aroma of smoked fish and crispy bacon alongside green bell peppers, baked pineapple and pear juice. Add water and an oceanic minerality brings a breath of cool, briny seaspray. Waxed lemon and lime follows with coal tar soap, beeswax and herby pine woodlands. Toasted vanilla and sizzling cinnamon simmer with warm hazelnut and almond toffee.
Palate: An explosion of crackling peat sets off millions of flavour explosions: peat effervesces with tangy lemon and lime juice, black pepper pops with sizzling cinnamon-spiced toffee. Then comes a wave of brine infused with smooth buttermilk, ripe bananas and currants. Smoke gradually wells up on the palate bringing a mouthful of warm creamy cappuccino and toasted marshmallows. As the taste lengthens and deepens, dry espresso, liquorice root and tarry smoke develop coating the palate with chewy peat oils.
Finish: Long and smoky with tarry espresso, aniseed, toasted almonds and traces of soft barley and fresh pear.