Ardbeg Blaaack (yes, I am correct, its 3 "a"s - after correcting myself for the Xth time), bottled to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Ardbeg Committee, founded in the year 2000. Not to be confused with the Ardbeg Blaaack Committee Release bottled at 50.7%. This is the second Ardbeg Blaaack bottle - the little brother. But I am not too sure whether there was a need to place the words "LIMITED EDITION" prominently on the packaging - overcompensating a little bit, Ardbeg?. Especially when it was announced to be "wildly available after Ardbeg Day in June 2020 and sold at 46% ABV".
Back to the juice, it is Ardbeg's virgin entry into the wine cask arena in the whisky universe - one which has been bashed and beaten to (beyond) pulp by many whisky writers / connoisseurs. A friend of mine still has nightmares about a particular one. Often referred to as a fly in the ointment in the whisky market. But how baaad can an Ardbeg be in a wine caaask? Worth a note is that the wine cask used here is flashier than normal - Pinot Noir casks from the country that lies furthest from Islay (New Zealand), where it is said that the sheeps have been known to outnumber the locals by a ratio of 7:1 - but seriously, who keeps a count though?
Nose (22): Daaark cooked, stewed fruits, notes of tobacco, cigar (I'm not a smoker), with jammy notes. Feels like a jar of jam smoked and matured in oak? Blackberries, blueberries, cherries emerges after one gets used to the peat/smoke.
Palate (21): Luscious, full, creamy, velvety mouth feel. Coats the palate fully, cherries appear and the peat really doesn't overcompensates itself (in a very good way). Some kind of sour citrusy notes appear towards the later part of the dram - I would guess thats the Pinot Noir cask?
Finish (21): Finish isn't too long, chocolatey, bitter, sooty/ash notes at the end. Not as intense as the packaging implies, but a pretty serious dram with some pretty serious complexity.