1979 Adelphi Ardbeg.

Getting in shape for the 18th Annual Gathering of the Clan. Ardbeg 17 yo 1979/1996 (64.3%, Adelphi for USA, cask #11928, 258 bottles). Before GlenMonsanto ruined the greatest distillery in the history of mankind. Goodbye, old friend.

Your critique of Ardbeg is a little harsh. Is Ardbeg reaching the peaks it hit in the 70s? No. Is it still one of the best distilleries out there? Absolutely. Airigh Nam Biest can still hang with the best of what Ardbeg produced of yore. Alligator is spectacular. Uigeadail is still one of the finest drams that can be bought for under $60.

ANB was not distilled by GlenMonsanto; it was distilled by Allied in 1990 and was in the warehouse when Glenmo bought the distillery in 1997. We disagree about the quality of Glenmo distillate; I think it is poor and doesn’t taste remotely like the whiskies distilled prior to Glenmo’s acquisition. More for you!

I’m with Mark on this one, though possibly not the “greatest distillery in the history of mankind” part. :slight_smile: I thought I hated Ardbeg until I tasted some of the older bottlings. To me, current release have an unpleasant burned plastic aroma and taste, which is so prevalent for me that I can generally spot the Ardbeg when we are blind tasting through samples.

That looks…just swell.

I would also add, Where in hell can you find Uigeadail for under $60?

K&L $55.99

My problem with Uigeadail and all of the other silly named, no age statement whiskies that Ardbeg and others produce is twofold: the distilleries try to achieve an aged whisky profile by blending very young whiskies with a drop or two of older whisky. Those whiskies lack depth of flavor that can only be achieved by cask aging. Sort of like adding wood chips to wine. The other problem is that on Islay the distilleries don’t floor malt much any more. Most/all of the malt for the entire island comes from Port Ellen and, unsurprisingly, there is a sameness except for peat levels. Ardbeg wasn’t only about peat. Its floor malted whiskies conveyed many other flavors and aromas, from creosote to coffee to cocoa to seaweed. Now, Ardbeg is only about NAS highly peated Port Ellen malt, packaging, and promotional gimmicks. One need not look further than the thread Nicos started about Laphroaig 200 Anniversary 15 (true of their 200 Anniversary Cairdeas, which is made entirely from Laphroaig’s own floor malted barley and distilled only in the old, small stills) to smell and taste the difference that properly aged, distillery floor malted (as opposed the the generic Port Ellen crap) makes. As a result, those two 200 Anniversary Laphroaigs are the best whiskies distilled on Islay since 1990. There are no shortcuts to making great whisky. 200 Anniversary Laphroaig 15 is still available for under $80. Do a side by side with any Ardbeg distilled by GlenMonsanto and let us know your preference.

Mark - great explanation, thank you. I always learn from your posts.

Am I correct that Springbank is the only distillery left that is still 100% floor malted? Not Islay, obviously.

Not Mark, but I believe you are correct about Springbank. A handful of others floor-malt for special bottlings or do a small percentage so they can say they do it.

Those older Ardbegs were subtle and complex. I loved the cocoa and orange notes I could get along with the peat and saline spray. Very little subtle these days; a few older casks tasted from at the distillery in 2014 were about it, and they seem to be used solely for blending. Quite the tourist scene now.

I will drink to that. Lovely tasting note on a treasured bottle Mark, thank you.