Whisky Focus - Ardbeg Drum Review

Ardbeg Drum Committee Bottling

25th February 2019
Ardbeg unveils Ardbeg Drum, a rum finished expression, as their Caribbean themed Islay Festival 2019 bottling with the Committee bottling set for release on 5th March.

Ardbeg Drum Committee BottlingIts that time of year once again when Ardbeg unveils the theme and the whisky with which they will mark their annual Ardbeg Day with and this year the distillery is planning to celebrate Islay’s rich history of carnivals with a flamboyant Caribbean twist and the release of Ardbeg Drum, the first ever rum finished whisky to be released by Ardbeg.

Ardbeg tells me that the limited edition Ardbeg Drum has been matured in ex-Bourbon casks and then finished in ex-rum casks from the Americas to coax out tropical tastes.

Ardbeg Day which takes place on the last day of Islay's Feis Ile, the whisky islands annual Festival of Music & Malt, will be held on Saturday, 1st June this year. Ardbeg Day 2019 will have a spectacular Caribbean twist, where Ardbeggians everywhere are invited to swap their flat caps for elaborate headdresses as Ardbeg Day embraces a dash of carnival colour.

This year, the Distillery will be resurrecting the island’s carnival traditions. In an Islay time gone by on the last day of the Feis Ile Festival, locals transformed everything from tractors to tricycles into magnificent floats. If it had wheels, they decorated it. Honking and tooting its way through Port Ellen and eventually to Ardbeg, this typically Islay cavalcade of colour represents a long-standing love for festivity on the island.

As always the highly sought after Committee bottling of Ardbeg Drum will go on sale ahead of the general release, the Ardbeg Drum Committee bottling which has a strength of 52% ABV will be available on 5th March with a RRP of £94, it will be exclusively available to purchase only by Committee Members, who will receive a link to purchase their own special bottle. If you want to get hold of a bottle and if you are not already a member of the Ardbeg Committee I suggest you get yourself over to the Ardbeg website and sign up.

The main Ardbeg Drum bottling will be released just ahead of Ardbeg Day.

Distillery Manager Mickey Heads said: "The Ardbeg Day Carnival is about embracing all things tropical. From music and dance to food and fashion, we’re all set to revel in both culture and character. And we’re delighted to introduce Ardbeg Drum – a celebration of all of the mixed up, mashed up influences that make Ardbeg, Ardbeg.

"In Ardbeg Drum, a multitude of complex flavours parade across the palate – fragrant pine resin and woodsmoke dance alongside ripe banana and pineapple. Then lavender, liquorice and vanilla strut into a long, smoky finish.”

"Preparations are well underway, but orchestrating a bash this breathtaking is no mean feat. The finer details are yet to be revealed, but rest assured, the Ardbeg Day Carnival 2019 will be a spectacle you won’t soon forget…"

If you cant wait for Ardbeg Day to sample Ardbegs peaty delights you will find the current range as well as some now discontinued expressions available from specialist online whisky retailers such as The Whisky Exchange, Master of Malt and The Whisky Shop

Ardbeg Drum Review

Ardbeg Drum (general release) is non chill-filtered and bottled at 46% ABV.

Producer's Tasting Notes:

Nose: In Drum, fragrant pine resin and woodsmoke dance alongside ripe banana and pineapple in a downright wondrous paradiddle of aromas, before parading into smoked apples and dry cocoa powder. Distant ginger, spiced dates and cinnamon sway into floating notes of lavender.

Taste: On the palate, waves of smoke, tar and creosote cascade into a dry peppery mouthfeel. Clove, liquorice and ginger strut towards rich notes of dark chocolate and smoked vanilla.

Finish: Intense smoke, roasted coffee liqueur and a treasure trove of sweet spices come together in one deliciously complex crescendo.

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