Whisky Focus - Ardbeg Scorch 2021 Review

Ardbeg Scorch Launching Ahead Of Ardbeg Day 2021

19th April 2021
Ardbeg Distillery invites you to join them for an online Ardbeg Day extravaganza to uncover the ‘lairs’ of flavour in their latest limited edition - Ardbeg Scorch.

Ardbeg ScorchAlthough Fčis Ěle 2021, the Isle of Islay’s annual Festival of Music and Malt, has been cancelled for the second year running due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Ardbeg one of the peatiest of all the whiskies produced on the whisky island, is once again taking its celebrations online and is inviting peated malt whisky fans everywhere to join them.

As always Ardbeg will be releasing a special bottling to mark what this year will be a virtual 'Ardbeg Day' which takes place online on the 5th June, and that bottling is the limited edition 'Ardbeg Scorch' which will come in two forms, the Ardbeg Scorch Committee bottling and the Ardbeg Day Edition bottling.

In what has now become the norm, first up will be a special limited edition Ardbeg Scorch Committee bottling bottled at 51.7% ABV which will be exclusively available to Ardbeg Committee members on 27th April, so if you haven't yet joined the Ardbeg Committee I suggest you get over to the Ardbeg website and sign up if you want to have a chance of getting hold of a bottle.

The Committee bottling will be followed by a Ardbeg Day Edition which will be will be available to Ardbeg Committee members and non-members alike from 27th May 2021, this limited edition release of Ardbeg Scorch has been bottled at 46% ABV.

The isle of Islay has long been an island steeped in myths and legend and Islay folk have long told tales of the island’s dragon, bravely slain by a heroic warrior many moons ago. The new whisky's name, Ardbeg Scorch, is a nod to the island's fire breathing legend, Ardbeg tell me that the fiercely delicious dram is the mouthwatering product of Ardbeg’s own flavour-breathing beast, who dwells in Dunnage Warehouse No. 3, scorching staves and burning barrels...

Ardbeg say that Scorch was matured in ex-bourbon American oak casks – heavily charred by the fiery exhale of Warehouse 3’s definitely-real-and-totally-not-made-up dragon, which has resulted in a whisky with intense aromas of soot, while flavours of grilled fare and black liquorice mingle with bold notes of medicinal lozenge.

So on 5 June 2021, Ardbeggians around the world will be able to celebrate Ardbeg Day with a new whisky created in homage to a ‘true myth’.

Colin Gordon, Ardbeg’s Distillery Manager, said: "This year will be my first Ardbeg Day ever: a baptism of fire! It’s a shame we Ardbeggians can’t enjoy it together in person, but the online event is shaping up to be tremendous fun. With a whole virtual world to explore, including fantasy inns, campfire tales, medieval feasts and live tastings, there’s plenty for people to be excited about this year."

Ardbeg’s Director of Distilling and Whisky Creation, Dr Bill Lumsden, added: "Ardbeg Scorch is our tribute to the legendary dragon of Islay. By using our most heavily-charred casks, we’ve created a fire-breathing beast of a dram!"

I haven't tasted the new Ardbeg Scorch but I will certainly update you with my thoughts on the fiery new dram when I get a chance to taste it, meanwhile the official tasting note is below.

Ardbeg Scorch will be available to buy from the distillery visitor centre, Ardbeg Embassies and whisky specialists such as The Whisky Exchange and Master of Malt from 27th May 2021.

Ardbeg Scorch Committee Bottling Review

(Review added 9th June 2021)

This is the Ardbeg Scorch Committee bottling which was bottled at 51.7% ABV.

William Morrison's Tasting Notes:

Nose: Bristling with delicious peaty bonfire smoke dusted with a little white pepper. Beyond the peat is liquorice infused toffee, some honey and pine resin.

Taste: In the first wave deliciously concentrated peat piggy backs on barley sugars to coat every corner of the mouth, in the second wave the sweet peaty smoke comes with a lovely liquorice and slightly medicinal edge and is joined by by white pepper and sweet oak, then the peat moves to a more hickory style.

Finish: A deliciously long peaty finish sees the now quite ashy peat, sugars, toffee, liquorice, and now slightly drying oak tannin, linger for an age, brilliant!

Comment: This is all about the sweet peaty bonfire smoke which reverberates from the nose to the finish, an absolutely outstanding example of peaty Ardbeg whisky. If you are an Ardbeg fan I hope you got hold of the Scorch Committee bottling and I am sure the standard bottling which is bottled at the slightly lower strength of 46% ABV will not be too far off the quality of this. If you like peaty whiskies you will just love this, grab as much as you can get hold of before it is gone.

SMW Score 96/100

Ardbeg Scorch Review

This is the Ardbeg Day edition of Ardbeg Scorch bottled at 46% ABV.

Producer's Tasting Notes:

Nose: Frighteningly intense aromas of soot and smoke lie in wait. Hints of aniseed and fragrant patchouli interlace with bold notes of quenched steel and saddle soap. With a drop of water, herbal top notes of briar wood, sage and pine wisp their way to the fore.

Taste: Lair upon lair of flavour. An oily mouthfeel grips the senses. Billowy clouds of sweet smoke and dragon charred oak permeate the palate, while grilled fare and black liquorice weave between notes of medicinal lozenge.

Finish: A long and heroic finale, with a subtle tarry aftertaste. A finish that will drag on, well into its happily ever after.

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