Ardbeg Airigh Nam Beist (2008)
I guess the Ardbeg Airigh Nam Beist qualifies as sort of a replacement for the Ardbeg 17 Years Old, although the former has long been discontinued itself. Both bottlings contributed a lot to the high reputation of Ardbeg.
Later today I’ll attend the official pre-launch of the Ardbeg Kelpie in The Netherlands, so i thought it fitting to review an Ardbeg legend from the past. The Airigh Nam Beist is a vintage bottling from 1990 which was released in batches for a period of three years from 2006 to 2008. So depending on the bottling year, it ranged from sixteen to eighteen years in age.
Ardbeg from the early nineties is very rare. The distillery was closed for almost all of the eighties, and when it opened again in 1989 it was only in production for two months a year, until it closed again in 1997.
Ardbeg Airigh Nam Beist (46%, OB, 2008)
Nose: Very well-integrated. Soft and gentle smoked bacon, a hint of rubber, some peat, but also seaweed, some molasses and a salty sea air-quality. Now there’s fruit too. Pineapple, oranges and bananas. Gorgeous.
Taste: Barbecue smoke, gentle peat, and marshmellow with brine and milk chocolate. Also sal ammoniac, liquorice and a pinch of salt. Big, bold, yet restrained and with lots of subtleties. Does that make sense? It doesn’t… I’m sorry.
Finish: Peat, cigar tobacco, brine. Long!
My favourite Ardbeg to date. A sublime whisky that does everything just right. Understandably a classic.
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.