This one is uncommon for an Ardbeg special release, in that it has an age declaration. It was distilled 1999 and bottled 2012, making it at least 12 years old. I think it would have been a much, much cooler way to celebrate their inclusion in the space program if they chose a whisky from 2001 and ran with a Kubrick, Space Odyssey theme… Ardbeg Monolith? Are you listening, Ardbeg? Pretty please? A whisky so delicious it will turn your laptop into a murderous automaton? Stop me before I tell you a story about my dog wandering into my whisky cabinet, drinking some of it and then learning to use tools to hunt and fight, setting in motion a terribly long series of events that ultimately ends in with some ambiguous nonsense about a space fetus. Oh… um… spoiler alert!
Nose: Bright and coppery from the start. Sharp and phenolic peat with raspberry and cumin. Ironically, it has a fresh dimension, like a newly washed load of laundry, the deck of a shiny new space ship or angel food cake right out of the oven. Wet leaves, delicious rubber smoke, Nag Champa and bandages. It has a lot of that funk you smell when you go shopping at an Asian market for, say, celeriac, chilli peppers and lychee, while you walk by the department where they scale the fish.
Palate: Impressive! A surprising entry. It smells like it’s going to be a monster, and then gently approaches. The first sip is smoke and the copper/yogurt tang needs a few seconds to catch up. The finish is a phenolic cloud with hints of lemon and blueberry cobbler that permeates every cell of your upper body, leaving your feet out in the cold. It still has a little bit of that classic Ardbeg umami to it and leaves a pleasant anesthetic tingle for your gums.