To celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Ardbeg Committee, founded in 2000, Ardbeg has released Blaaack, a limited edition bottling unveiled for the 2020 Feis Ile festival. This year’s Feis Ile was held virtually after coronavirus forced promoters to cancel the in-person event.
Ardbeg wanted something truly unique for their 20 year celebration and decided to “honor their global flock” with something completely new. For the first time in the distillery’s history, they rounded up Pinot Noir casks from the country that lies the furthest distance from Islay – New Zealand.
A deep cherry blossom in color, Ardbeg Blaaack features “baked fruit pudding” on the nose, which “knits together seamlessly with cedar wood and aromatic cigar box.” From there, “Oak tannins and rich truffles then break away to reveal subtle notes of smoky jam tart. With a splash of water, intense aromas of bitter cherry and a curiously zesty note emerges. Naturally, this dram then travels in a different direction with lovely fragrant violet notes.”
The palate is “velvety” with a “surprisingly furry mouthfeel.” According to Ardbeg, “Aniseed, soot and summer fruits – such as cherries, strawberries, apricots and pears – give way to crumbly pastry, dark chocolate, coffee and almonds.” They describe the finish as long, lingering, and sooty.
The Ardbeg Blaaack bottle is just as dark as you might expect from them, while the box features a black sheep surrounded in a flock of white ones. The black sheep is a nod to Ardbeg’s reputation and “that other remote island nation where sheep have been known to outnumber the locals by 7:1.”
Ardbeg Blaaack comes in at 46% ABV and is selling for US$119.99.
Earlier this week, Lagavulin and Caol Ila launched their Fèis Ìle 2020 whiskies: Lagavulin 20 Years Old Fèis Ìle 2020 and Caol Ila 16 Years Old Fèis Ìle 2020. Elsewhere, Douglas Laing released a new Big Peat whisky for the Fèis Ìle festival: the Big Peat 8 Years Old A846.