Ardbeg An Oa (700ml)
An Oa Single Malt Scotch Whisky
It is acknowledged by oilskin-clad locals and Gore-tex-sheathed visitors alike that the Ardbeg Distillery can be subject to alarmingly fierce winds, driving rain and eerie coverings of haar. However, these frequent weather events would be far more extreme, were it not for the presence of the Mull of Oa.
Topographically speaking, the Distillery is sheltered from the harshest excesses of the mighty Atlantic by this rounded peninsula in the south of Islay. This vast, jutting promontory is the inspiration for Ardbeg An Oa!
Like the Mull of Oa, it is noticeably rounded. This is due in no small part to a spell spent in Ardbeg’s newly-established Gathering Vat.
Within the vat Ardeg has gathered together whiskies from several cask types - including; sweet Pedro Ximenez; spicy Virgin charred oak; and intense ex-bourbon casks, amongst others - where they familiarise themselves with each other. The result is a dram with smoky power, mellowed by a delectable, smooth sweetness. Hallmark Ardbeg peat, dark chocolate and aniseed are wrapped in smooth, silky butterscotch, black pepper and clove, before rising to an intense crescendo of flavour.
Nose: Rounded and smoky - like burning Applewood - with creamy toffee, aniseed, treacle and dates. A curious suggestion of juicy fruits, such as peach and banana. With a drop of water, reminders of Ardbeg’s classic fragrance – lime, pine resin, fennel, saddle soap and tar. A gentle waxiness, like fragrant candle wax, and hints of smoked herbs. An Oa gives a final subtle reminder of the sea with briny notes and seaweed but always accompanied with creaminess.
Taste : A smooth, creamy texture leads into a huge syrupy sweetness, flavours of milk chocolate, treacle toffee, aniseed, orange and smoky tea leaves. Gentle, sweet spices (nutmeg & cinnamon), some cigar smoke, and a very unusual flavour of grilled artichokes. Wood is always present in the spirit, gently nutty and reminiscent of a carpenter’s workshop. A long, sweet finish, with floral overtones, mint toffee and some gentle malty biscuit notes.
Finish: Lingering, seductive, gentle yet intense, with flavours of aniseed, hickory and distant subtle smoke.
About the Distillery:
The small, remote Scottish island of Islay (pronounced 'eye-lah') is an antique land. A wild and untamed place, where Celtic monks found refuge from raiding Norsemen and early distillers smuggled their illicit "aquavitae" at Ardbeg's rugged rocky cove.
Abundant soft water, fertile soil and acres of precious peat makes this island a place of pilgrimage for the single malt whisky faithful. And none more so than our very own Ardbeg, unquestionably the greatest distillery on Earth.
For over 200 years, Ardbeg has been made on Islay. Some people travel to Ardbeg along the winding road from Port Ellen. Others follow their nose, their destiny or the advice of a good friend.