Every year, the Islay Festival of Whisky & Music finds its big finale in rollicking festivities on the premises of the easternmost of the so-called Kildalton distilleries on the island’s south shore. But it’s not only there that Ardbeggians go crazy on that day. All over the world, Ardbeg Day is celebrated by happy people with smiles on their faces, friends by their sides and drams in their glasses. Although I could not make it to any of the big events on Islay or in Offenbach this year, I did at least get to visit my local Ardbeg Embassy here in Hamburg (Getränkeparadies Wolf) to enjoy a dram of this year’s annual special editon called Ardbeg Grooves in jolly company. Of course, I also took the opportunity to buy a full bottle. The spicy flavor profile, the colorful design and the groovy flower power gimmick are totally up my alley. With this being said, I will now bring this review to an end and spin a Ten Years After LP while sipping another glass o’ Grooves. Peat and love, fellas!
Eye: Weathered gold with a reddish hue.
Nose: Warming, spicy and harmonious. Paprika powder, peppered entrecôte and toasted wood are my first associations. Underneath, I also find creamy milk chocolate and yellow fruits. And around it all, I sense a cloud of coal smoke.
Palate: Tingly on the tongue. Slightly dry, but also fiery in the mouth. There’s more paprika, a spoonful of curcuma and some dried tobacco leaves. I don’t get much fruitiness and the little that might be in there seems to come from sun-dried wild fruits like rosehips or red currants. Are there also a few crumbled beetroot chips in the mix? I think so, yes! The smoke is indirect and not too much in the foreground. This ol’ hippie doesn’t let you inhale the joint he’s smokin’, but he fills the whole room with his billows.
Finish: Smooth and groovy! In terms of length, Ardbeg’s new special bottling doesn’t party till the wee hours, but it is also not the first to leave the party. The savory finish emphasizes on the sweetness and offers pointed peppers, perfumed tobacco and strawberry-flavored balsamic vinegar. Again, the peaty fumes are present, but not dominating. Everything meshes perfectly and the whole thing’s as round as Janis Joplin’s eyeglass lenses!
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Region: Scotland (Islay)
Alc. volume: 46%
Bottle size: 0.7 litres
Price range: ~99.00 Euro
More info: http://www.ardbeg.com/ (Distillery) ; https://www.spirituosen-wolf.de/ (Ardbeg Embassy)