The arrival of the New Year is always an exciting time for me when it comes to whisky. I finally have a chance to catch my breath after the busy holiday period and review the year that went by. Looking back, it was a great year for the whisky drinker, there has never been such a broad selection of quality malts to choose from. However you will surely notice that prices are steadily rising and you are being asked to shell out more of your hard earned money for your favorite single malt. I will touch on the subject of rising prices at a later date, but this issue leads us nicely into January’s Malt of the Month.
Ardbeg is often described as being one of Scotland’s most legendary distilleries and as such has a definite “cult” following. The distillery was one of many that closed during the dark recessionary days of the 1980’s, however it was bought by Glenmorangie in 1997. The new owners then set about re-creating the legendary heavily peated malt that the distillery was originally known for. Over the years many limited expressions have been released but the real star of the show is the “bog” standard 10 year old bottling.
This whisky has risen up the ranks at Vine & Table over the last few years to become one of our top selling malts. There are a number of reasons for this. The first is that stylistically it is everything that you think about when you think of Islay malts. On the nose there is, sweet toffee, seaweed and peat smoke. The palate is rich and oily with more bonfire smoke mingling with citrus, spice, and seaweed. A classic expression of from this tiny island.
The other reason up to now has been price. We have been able to offer the 10 year old at a truly phenomenal price, in fact one of the lowest prices in the US. However that will all change here in a few months when this whisky will join forces with such well known Scotches as Laphroaig, Macallan and Balvenie and increase their prices significantly. For that reason alone, Ardbeg 10 Year Old Islay Single Malt Scotch has to be my Malt of the Month.
I am sad to say it, but the days of getting a single malt of this caliber for $39.99 are very much numbered!