Ardbeg Kelpie Committee Release

Scotch Whisky Review #243: Ardbeg Kelpie Committee Release

Distillery: Ardbeg

Region: Islay

Age: NAS

ABV: 51.7%

Cask Type: Virgin Black Sea oak casks and bourbon barrels

Price: Sample courtesy of /u/theagavefairy

Color: 1.1, Burnished.

Nose: Salty brine is the major note here with whiffs of sweet barbecue smoke interspersed here and there. There’s an slightly wet grassy note as well which, combined with the brine, reminds me of standing on a grassy hill near the ocean. (Note: The wife absolutely hates the smell of peated whisky so I usually keep them away from her. She took a whiff of this one on her own, recoiled almost violently, and looked at me with the most disgusted face 🤣)

Palate: Malt and smoke are the main notes that come through. It’s a slightly sweet smoke but it lacks the slightly savory element that I’d associate with barbecue. It’s more like you’re getting a lot of smoked malt directly. There’s a bit of a lemony note as well which reminds me of the middle bits of a lemon hard candy after you’ve gone through the slightly sour layers. With a splash of water, a very milky chocolate note comes out.

Finish: Medium in length. There’s a hint of smoldering charcoal, a little more of that lemon hard candy, and a bit of malt biscuit.

Conclusion: This 2017 Committee Release from Ardbeg features oak casks made from wood from the Adyghe Republic in Russia. While wood from different locations will give off slightly different flavors, I have to wonder if this is more of a marketing ploy than anything else as the end result just seems to be a fairly standard set of Ardbeg flavors. That’s not to say this isn’t a good whisky. The smoky malt with the little bit of lemon hard candy and milk chocolate is quite nice. However, this doesn’t come across to me as anything particularly special. Would I buy a bottle? I’d say this was overpriced even at MSRP, much less for whatever it goes for these days.

Final Score: 79.

Scotch Whisky Review #243, Islay Review #31, Whisky Network Review #370

Scoring Legend:

  • 96-100: The perfect dram, nectar of the gods.
  • 90-95: Near perfect, there is something truly special about this whisky.
  • 85-89: Amazing, will always try to keep a bottle of this in my collection (if feasible).
  • 80-84: Very Good, maybe only one minor nitpick about the whisky keeping it here.
  • 75-79: Good, quite enjoyable to drink.
  • 70-74: Solid, wouldn’t go out of my way to get it.
  • 60-69: Meh, still drinkable.
  • Below 59: If you have a bottle of this, start cooking with it instead.

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