The Islay region of Scotland is home to some of the most divisive whiskies in the world. Fans and proponents of the smoky spirit style from this island often think that other Scotches are bland and lacking in character—while the less enthused cite aromatics like “burning hospital” and “dusty seaweed” as their reasons for disliking the spirit.
Even among Islay’s distillers, Ardbeg produces some of the most unabashedly smoky Scotch. But it’s a very particular type of smoke: Long in vanilla and caramel notes, and heavy on the ripe stone fruit and baking spices. In short, a lovely (if intense) bouquet.
With their new Wee Beastie, an uncommonly young five year old expression of their fine whiskies, Ardbeg is breaking new ground. The body is light, the sweetness less pronounced, and the smoke and black pepper spice taking center stage. I dare you to find a more interesting whisky for the price.