Whisky Focus - Ardbeg 19 Year Old Traigh Bhan Batch 2 Review

Ardbeg 19 Year Old Traigh Bhan Batch 2

4th September 2020
Ardbeg announces the launch of the second batch of the American oak & Oloroso sherry cask matured Ardbeg 19 Year Old Traigh Bhan.

Ardbeg 19 Year Old Traigh Bhan Batch 2Ardbeg has announced the release of Ardbeg 19 Year Old Traigh Bhan Batch 2, or to be more precise Batch No: TB/02-18.09.00/20.JT. Ardbeg Traigh Bhan’ (pronounced ‘Tri-Van’) was launched last year and was the first age statement whisky to join the Ardbeg core range in 20 years.

Ardbeg 19 Year Old Traigh Bhan was matured in American oak and Oloroso Sherry casks, Ardbeg tells me that Batch 2 is subtly different to the first release of Traigh Bhan. This time round, the 19 Year Old takes on an altogether more silky-smooth character, thanks to a higher proportion of 1st-fill Bourbon casks, alongside refills and Sherry casks.

Ardbeg describe Traigh Bhan Batch 2 as having an aroma of sweet wood smoke and tart crème fraîche which flow gently into bold notes of savoury fennel, celeriac and roasted tea leaves. On the palate, they say it has an intensely salty mouthfeel shifting like the tides into soothing medicinal notes, followed by salted peanut brittle, smoked pineapple and lime juice. Waves of aniseed lap over the palate, before rich fudge, birch tar and peat smoke crash down wildly.

The taste profile isn’t the only thing that changes year on year. Each Traigh Bhan whisky carries its own unique batch code, batch symbol and signature from one of the Distillery’s famous faces – this year it’s Jackie Thomson, the Distillery Visitor Centre Manager.

Ardbeg 19 Year Old Traigh Bhan Batch 2 Batch No: TB/02-18.09.00/20.JT

With distillery manager Mickey Heads pending retirement at the end of October after 13 years overseeing whisky production at the Ardbeg Distillery this may possibly be the last new Ardbeg release under Mickey's reign that will carry his name, will that make it more sought after by the Ardbeg whisky collectors, who knows? One thing is for sure it will no doubt be sought after, difficult to get hold of and sell out quickly just like the previous batch even with its new slightly higher RRP of £199.

Ardbeg’s Whisky Creator, Dr Bill Lumsden, said: "To me, this whisky is the epitome of an aged Ardbeg. It somehow manages to balance the complex with the classic. It’s a truly unique bottling and we hope Ardbeggians everywhere look forward to comparing notes with the previous batch. I know I did!"

Ardbeg 19 Year Old Traigh Bhan Batch 2 has a RRP of £199 and will be available from September from specialist online whisky retailers such as The Whisky Exchange, The Whisky Shop and Master of Malt

Ardbeg 19 Year Old Traigh Bhan Batch 1 Review

Note that this is a review of the outstanding Ardbeg 19 year Traigh Bhan Batch 1 and given Ardbeg's record for consistency and quality in their core range I would be confident Batch 2 will match it for quality but as the is the very nature of single malts it will likely vary slightly in its flavour profile but I wouldn't think by much.

William Morrison's Tasting Notes:

Nose: Sweet vanilla toffee infused with subtle and charismatic Ardbeg peat smoke and dusted with white pepper, even subtler lemon lurking in the background

Taste: The sweet vanilla and the now not so subtle peat smoke burst onto the palate, filling every corner of the mouth with its smooth, barley sugared sweet, vanilla'd, peaty pleasures. Lemon zest, oak spice, white pepper and a wee hint of liquorice join the party.

Finish: Deliciously long, the peat, vanilla and pepper linger for an age.

Comment: I thought the peat was going to be much tamer on the palate after nosing this but it certainly isn't tame at all on the palate. I recall the old Ardbeg 17, although an outstanding dram it fell just a little short with the peat smoke on the palate so I wondered what this new Ardbeg 19 year old would be like and I am very happy to say that it does not lack in peat smoke on the palate, it is simply a stunning, mature Ardbeg which is packed with peat just as the fans of this dram want. You will need deep pockets to make this your every day dram but if your pockets are deep enough and you are an Ardbeg fan you will not be disappointed.

SMW Score 95/100

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