The Duchess is a new independent label from Dutch retailer Best of Whiskies. Not settling for just any first bottling, they decided on bottling an Ardbeg 1991 25 Years Old from an ex-bourbon cask!
I previously reviewed a Glendronach released by The Duchess, but this Ardbeg is the first bottling carrying their own label and released within their Shieldmaiden-series. It is nicknamed Malin, meaning small warrior.
This Ardbeg was distilled in a period in which the distillery only operated for two months out of every year, the same period which brought us the Ardbeg Twenty One, an official bottling released in 2016.
Ardbeg 1991 25 Years Old (49,8%, The Duchess, C#649)
Nose: Ah, what a delight this is! A big, yet gentle layer of sweet peat smoke. Some fresh crisp green apple, as well as pear skin and lemon peel. A whiff of straw and hay, accompanied by some crème brulee. Not super complex, but so delicately balanced. Taste: Rich and creamy mouthfeel. A bigger and peatier arrival than expected at this age. Somewhat spicy. Nutmeg. And salt too, accompanied by peanuts and almonds, as well as pink grapefruit and soft lemon juice. Finish: Milk chocolate, ash and earthy peat. Long and gentle.
That nose though. Really, why even drink whisky? 😉 I would’ve liked a bit more complexity for it to reach the 90 point barrier, but all in all truly good whisky. Available for just under 800 euro (ouch!).