Ardbeg "Ardcore" Single Malt Scotch Whisky "General Release"
750 ml, 46% ABV, Non chillfiltered (This is not the Committee Release)
"Ardbeg Day 2022 is upon us, and as always the chaps in Islay have a special release in store for Ardbeg Committee members. Ardcore is a celebration of all things punk, made with roasted black malt that is “incinerated to hair-raising levels.” It’s the first usage of black malt by the distillery, which Friend of Drinkhacker Dr. Bill Lumsden describes as tasting “like biting on a spiky ball.”
In tasting Ardcore — the standard 46% abv expression, not the 50.1% Committee version — I can’t say that Lumsden is wrong.
Light gold in color as is typical for the brand, the whisky offers a densely smoky nose that’s a fun spin on Ardbeg from the start. It’s not particularly peaty; the smokiness is tied closely to the grains, indeed coming across like burnt toast or cereal heated to oblivion over a fire, almost charcoal-like. Some coffee notes are evident with time in glass, then finally some seaweed, at last evoking something about Islay. The palate finds room for a little sweetness — sesame and some marshmallow, a bit of nougat, then dark chocolate notes. Here the smoke is tempered, if only moderately, providing a smoldering counterbalance to the more dessert-like qualities in the dram, with a squeeze of citrus evident on the surprisingly bright finish.
While Ardbeg is iconically connected to peat, this expression shows what the distillery can do when its smokier qualities come from a different source. A fun change of pace from a distillery that’s always innovating." Drinkerhacker
“Described as tasting like ‘biting on a spiky ball’.
From a Distillery with more ups and downs that a pogoing punk comes Ardcore. Created with roasted black malt, roasted to the extreme, this spirit is all about what happens up front centre stage. The malt is what defines its distinctive profile. Described as tasting like ‘biting on a spiky ball’, Ardcore is a dram that wears its heart on its sleeve… its black heart! Notes of charcoal and sweet smoke make for an in-your-face nose, while potent notes of aniseed and dark chocolate stamp this bottle out as one fit only for the most Ardcore of fans."