Whisky Focus - Ardbeg The Abyss

Ardbeg The Abyss

5th June 2024
Introducing Ardbeg The Abyss 34 Year Old which has the same 1989 Ardbeg spirit at its core as was used for the original Ardbeg Corryvreckan release back in 2008. The Abyss is a limited edition of only 400 bottles which have a RRP of £21,250.

Today, Ardbeg Islay single malt unveiled an iconic rebirth with Ardbeg The Abyss. This richly powerful whisky emerges from the rare essence of a fan favourite—the original limited-edition Ardbeg Corryvreckan, released in 2008. Ardbeg tells me that The Ardbeg The Abyss 34 Year Old has been uniquely transformed during its 34 years of maturation, revealing extraordinary new flavours which they say are destined to secure its legendary status.

At the core of the original Ardbeg Corryvreckan was mature 1989 spirit, initially aged in bourbon casks and then finished in specially toasted 'ultra-active' French oak casks. These unique casks endowed the limited edition with its intense depth. While most of these irreplaceable casks were used in the 2008 bottling, a few were preserved. From these last surviving barrels comes Ardbeg The Abyss, its raw power now transformed. Encased in a sleek, silver capsule, this rich and unusually dark Ardbeg is said to offer drinkers swirls of toasted marshmallows and tea leaves, with notes of dark chocolate, pecan, leather, and creosote lingering nearby.

To mark The Abyss’s release, renowned American comic-book artist Tradd Moore has re-imagined the Corryvreckan whirlpool legend in a fantastical graphic novel, exclusively available in print with the 400 numbered bottles of The Abyss.

Tradd Moore’s graphic novel immerses readers in a parallel world inspired by Ardbeg Corryvreckan’s namesake—a fathomless whirlpool near Ardbeg’s Scottish island home. According to legend, Viking prince Breacan anchored his ship there for three days and nights to win the Lord of the Isles’ daughter, only to be lost to its depths. Mirroring the whisky’s journey into new flavour dimensions, Tradd breathes new life into Breacan, who travels through space and time to be reborn on Planet Ardbeg.

Dr Bill Lumsden, Ardbeg’s Director of Whisky Creation, said: "Ardbeg The Abyss is the stuff of Ardbeggian legend. Formed from the rare heart of that original, sought-after 2008 limited release of Corryvreckan, this 34-year-old whisky has been transported by time into a new world of flavour. Held in a tiny handful of those rare, heavily toasted French oak casks, its 400 bottles contain mysterious depths of toasted marshmallows, dark chocolate, pecan nuts and leather – a rare taste of an Ardbeg icon revived, and re-imagined."

Tradd said: "When I visited Islay, everything felt holistic: the island itself, the people, the stories. From visiting the whirlpool to trying to swirl whisky in the glass, it all felt interconnected. I’m a big fan of mythology and as soon as I heard the legend of Corryvreckan, I just knew I wanted to reflect The Abyss’s mysterious depths through the story of Prince Breacan. On his own journey into mystery, he sees the abyss, enters the unknown and is swept up and surprised by what he finds…"

Ardbeg The Abyss will be available for purchase on the Ardbeg website and at the Distillery Visitor Centre on Islay, and through the Moët Hennessy Private Client channel worldwide and as I am sure you can imagine you will need deep pockets if you want to taste this one, it has a RRP of £21,250/25,000 Euro.

To celebrate Ardbeg Corryvreckan’s significance in the distillery’s history, 1,000 limited-edition bottles of the core range Ardbeg Corryvreckan will also be released. These bottles feature label designs by Tradd Moore, with four distinct designs, each taken from a frame in The Abyss graphic novel. These exclusive bottles will be available only at the Distillery Visitor Centre on Islay starting in June.

You will also find the current Ardbeg whisky range available f
rom specialist online whisky shops such as The Whisky Exchange and Master of Malt

Ardbeg The Abyss Review

Bottled at 48% ABV.

Producer's Tasting Notes:

Nose: Rich, pungent and aromatic but mellow, deep and gentle at the same time. There are aromas of toasting marshmallows, aromatic tea leaves, roasted chestnut, baking sourdough bread and something altogether zestier, like lemon balsam. A lingering, background sweetness, like Demerara sugar, and then a hint of antique leather. A splash of water opens up the bouquet, to revel more herbal top notes, with a whisper of lemon sherbet and some pine resin.

Taste: A wonderfully mellow mouthfeel with a hint of spiciness, is followed by bold flavours of dark chocolate, pecan nut toffee, old leather, clove, ginger and a touch of treacle and creosote.

Finish: The smoke is always there, but beautifully integrated with the oak tannins, hints of baked apple and aniseed.

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