After reviewing a festival bottling on Wednesday, I now have another one: the Ardbeg Heavy Vapours, which was bottled for
Fèis Ìle 2023.
This Ardbeg is a bit of a strange one because, it turns out, it is distilled without the purifier on the still. This part normally ensures that the vapours that rise in the still are captured. But in this case, now that there was no purifier present, the heavy vapours (yes, yes, hence the name) go up without being captured.
But what effect does this have on the taste? Well, according to Ardbeg, the purifier typically provides a balance between the peat and a floral fruitiness. But the latter now seems to have mainly disappeared, causing the dark flavours to predominate. Interesting…
To fully experience the flavour, this Ardbeg was matured in bourbon casks before being bottled at an ABV of 46%. The age of this one is unknown.
Ardbeg Heavy Vapours tasting notes:
Nose: undeniably Ardbeg, that’s for sure. A layer of peat and a vegetal note. Sea shells. Vanilla. This is followed by a hint of mezcal. Then iodine but a hint of vanilla too.
Taste: Peat, obviously, but some ash as well. It feels a bit thin though. Lemons and a bit of vanilla again. Mezcal. Iodine and a note of chalk. A hint of white pepper and liquorice.
Finish: mid-long with peat smoke and tar. A hint of chocolate and an herbal note.
A fun experiment to bottle this, and nice to taste. But to be honest, I expected a little more from it. It is also not as ‘heavy’ as the name suggests, and it feels a bit young too. All in all, it’s a decent Ardbeg, but just not that special. And therefore, it’s too expensive for what you get.