For this year’s Ardbeg Day, Ardbeg released the Ardbeg Kelpie. A whisky based on the mythical shapeshifting creature of the same name. This whisky is named as such as it is said to be inspired and seasoned by the Black sea. Aged in first-fill bourbon casks, this Committee Release version is a higher ABV version than the regular one, and is only available for purchase if you are a member of the Ardbeg Committee. This bottle is probably one of only less than 50 here in Indonesia, as Ardbeg is quite hard to come by here.
This review might be a little bit late as Ardbeg Day was back in June, but do enjoy the review, as we have only recently managed to receive these bottles.
Ardbeg – Kelpie Committee Release – 51.7% Non chill-filtered.
Nose: At first whiff, this has the earthiness of thyme, and hint of smoke. The nose is incredibly rich and suggests a creamy whisky. With water, sweetness develops while everything else intensifies along. The earthiness turns into a pleasing clove like sweetness, and the nice popcorn character of Ardbeg (purely my personal opinion) becomes apparent. (By popcorn I mean the traditional kettle style popcorn with reasonable amounts of salt and butter). 75/100
Palate: The palate is intense! Even by Ardbeg standards. Very peppery at first (finely ground black pepper), which is slightly overwhelming for my palate. A hint of acidic unripe fruits after (think under-extracted manual brew coffee). The use of first-fill casks is highly apparent here. The palate benefits with water as it develops a lot more of that nice popcorn note. With water and time, notes of sweet bacon, followed by a nice cherry-like medicinal sweetness (reminiscent of a local Indonesian cough syrup LOL), and right at the end, smoke. 72/100
Finish: A never-ending finish! Long, drying, smokey and sweet. The aftertaste of eating smokey Maraschino cherries (if they exist), and a hint of dark chocolate. Intense, and very very good! 88/100
Afterthought: As someone who enjoys the nose of the whisky more than the finish, this is not the Ardbeg for me. That being said, the finish is on this beast is truly unique and incredible. Adding 3-4 drops of water will do wonders! Perhaps the regular non-Committee Release version will suit me better, or maybe I need to taste this whisky again in the future, perhaps with a movie
I score it: 78/100
Thanks for reading! Kanpai!
Thank you to Slainte Maltmate Hong Kong Whisky Club for the samples!
Opinions and pictures are my own.