Sunday, June 12, 2011

Whisky review: Ardbeg Airigh Nam Beist 1990 Limited Release

Ardbeg is one of the Islay distilleries doing heavily-peated whiskies, falling prey to the "peatiness envy" that has also engulfed Bruichladdich with their Port Charlotte and Octomore offerings.

The Airigh Nam Beist (pronounced "arry nam baysht") is named after the small hill lake between Loch Uigeadail (from which Ardbeg draws its water) and the Ardbeg distillery, and translates from the Gaelic to mean "shelter or pasture of the animals." It is a vintage bottling, put into casks in 1990 and bottled in 2007, and has since been discontinued because the stock has run out.

Ardbeg Airigh Nam Beist, 46% ABV
Single malt Scotch whisky (Islay)

Nose: A sweet smokiness that includes some medicinal notes and aromas of fresh, green twigs.

Palate: Smoke, peat and honey entwined to give a well-rounded dram. Velvety mouthfeel.

Finish: Peat at first, fading to honey and caramel with a background of smoke. Honey and smoke seem to linger forever.

Rating (of 100): 91. A very nice all-around peated whisky, though I think the complexity of this whisky is still far less than what was achieved in the primo batches of the Ardbeg Uigeadail.

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