Friday, 29 May 2015

Ardbeg Perpetuum

It’s Ardbeg day tomorrow I believe.  My friends have been living it up in Islay while I’ve been working like a maniac.  But tomorrow is still Ardbeg day.
I toughed it out on the website to get the distillery release (split with the team) and received an official sample of tomorrow’s release.  The latter is (presumably) the former with a bit more water added.  And you know I love comparing almost identical things…

Ardbeg Perpetuum, Ardbeg Day release, 47.4% A⊕
Nose - Fresh citrus and cereal. Summery, like a blonde Kilchoman, with the same youth, but a slightly dirty edge. Salted caramel and crayons. Stewed plums… it’s a little odd, but not unwelcome and certainly an Ardbeg.
Body - Comprehensive and quite complex. Sweet, tannic and woody. More stewed plums and flaked almonds. Salty.  Toffee and hops.
Finish - Long, dusty bitterness, licked joss stick and some acrylic paint. Wet ashtray at the end.
What's not good about it - to be honest, not quite what I was expecting (more creamy sherry and breezy peat), but that's mainly expectation management. The nose betrays the young whisky in here.
What's good about it - but it all comes together on the delivery (uncommon), with great complexity - almost confusing, but it hangs together. The creamy and peat is there at the end.

Ardbeg Perpetuum, Distillery Release, 49.2% A⊕
Nose - Sweeter, less young, less funky and more flinty. Cereal and onion marmalade, pastry and anise biscuits. Deep toffee. Deeper digging for the funk, but it's there and increases with time, and swap the crayons for umeboshi and Play-Doh.
Body - Sweet, balanced, grapefruit peat. Toasted cereal and juicy pear.
Finish - Good development into long tannins and toasty peat.
What's not good about it - Well, not an awful lot. I guess it's quite straightforward.
What's good about it - Quite classically put together I'd say, fruity but flinty with high quality cereal and gentle Islay peat. I'm a fan.

Compared
Nose - the 47 has more orange and grapefruit, fresh citrus and ozone. Side by siding them the 49 seems darker and richer, lots more toffee. They are very different. Even with water in the 49, it seems deeper, more toffee and raw cereal, with the 47 lighter with grapefruit juice.
Delivery - the 49 is almost winey, with more fizzing, bright peat. The delivery is significantly longer and more consistent, but overall has less complexity. The 47 - the raw peat has turned into classier tobacco. The whole thing seems classier.

Assuming the 47 is just the 49 with more water, these differences must be the result of marrying! They're both good, I prefer the Distillery Release on first look, but definitely the Ardbeg day release in the round.  I’ll be at TWE tomorrow to get a bottle – well, I’ll be working round the corner from there anyway.  Maybe I’ll expense it…

Apologies for the lack of pictures.  Windows Live Writer seems to be broken with blogger right now and my HTML days were long ago!

Thanks to Ardbeg for the 47 sample.

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