Among the many enjoyable facets of being a whisky fan, revisiting an expression you've tried previously ranks pretty highly. As much as it may be fun to try (and say goodbye) to new limited whisky releases seemingly every other day, there is something to be said for the simple pleasure of knowing a whisky you have enjoyed will still be easily found should you wish to go back and try it again. With all the excitement from the recent Ardbeg Supernova 2019 committee release and the first release of the Ardbeg Traigh Bhan, we were keen to revisit the most recent addition to the core range of Ardbeg prior to the Traigh Bhan.
Ardbeg An Oa first appeared in late September 2017. It's named for the Mull of Oa, which helps provide shelter for the Kildalton shoreline (home of the Ardbeg Distillery), which is apt as the An Oa was created to be a more approachable and rounded whisky than some of the bigger expressions in the Ardbeg range such as the Uigedail and Corryvreckan. Ardbeg An Oa was at the time of its launch the first new core expression to be released by Ardbeg in over 10 years, and to help develop its more approachable profile was created primarily from a combination of casks, including charred Virgin Oak, ex-Bourbon and Pedro Ximenez, married in a bespoke oak vat, dubbed the 'Gathering Vat'. Bottled at a generous 46.6%, Ardbeg An Oa is non chill-filtered.
Our original tasting notes were;
Nose: Pineapple glazed charcoal roasted pig, butter menthol, caramel popcorn, lemon zest, some cracked pepper and fennel.
Palate: Feels a bit lighter than most Ardbeg expressions. Main flavours showing through are the usual smoked ham/bacon found in Ardbeg, with the smoke offering a cigar leafiness. Maple syrup and buttered crumpet, chocolate dipped dried oranges.
How we feel about it today;
Nose: Nosing seems to reveal more citrus notes this time around, with orange and poppy-seed muffin with marmalade, butterscotch pudding sauce, and a good pipe tobacco odour joining the fennel, menthol and sweet glazed ham noted before.
Palate: Still very much a peated whisky, a little less oily/lush on the tongue than say the Traigh Bhan, but still delicious with the tobacco from the nose now coming through as a good toke on a pipe, with dark chocolate, rich buttery pancakes and slightly charred Chinese pork. Faint medicinal/herbal notes, like a good black tea steeped with mint.
The only thing better than getting the chance to revisit a dram, is to be able to share it with others. Thanks to the very good souls at Moet Hennessy Australia we have four bottles of Ardbeg An Oa to give away to four very lucky people, so they too can enjoy this delicious, confident, but not overbearing, peated Islay whisky.
Of course you can always find a bottle using our website here too.
The Whisky List.