It’s been a little over a year since Ardbeg Traigh Bhan (pronounced tri-van) was released and that was rather unique. This 19-year-old was the first age statement expression to be added to Ardbeg’s core range after 20 years. In the meantime, the 5 year old Wee Beastie has also been added, but a single malt of 19 years old is quite a considerable age for an Ardbeg and it’s therefore also the oldest permanent addition to the range.
Traigh Bhan is produced in annual small batches and according to the distillery each batch will have slight differences in the flavour profile. This is due to minor changes in the cask selection. So compared to the first release, batch 2 has a slightly higher proportion of 1st fill bourbon casks and therefore less refill bourbon casks, while the ratio of Oloroso casks has remained the same.
This Ardbeg has matured in American oak casks and Oloroso sherry casks for 19 years and is bottled at 46.2% ABV.
Ardbeg Traigh Bhan tasting notes:
Nose: more peat than I would expect at this age. Bbq smoke and somewhat ashy. But there’s a medicinal note too. Bandages. Resin but also a tropical note from pineapple. Then sweet vanilla. Fennel in the background. Lemons. A hint of nettles and eucalyptus too.
Taste: it’s quite ashy in the beginning, but it feels like there’s less peat than the nose suggested. Vanilla custard and sweet nectarines in the background. A hint of mint and it’s a bit oaky too. Hazelnut. Liquorice and anise. Somewhat salty as well, which reminds me of seawater.
Finish: long and somewhat dry because of oak. Creme Brulee and mint again. But also peat, a hint of ash and liquorice.
I haven’t tasted the first batch but I do like this one. The nose isn’t just those typical Ardbeg notes, yes they are there, but there’s more to it. There’s also an almost elegant freshness and the medicinal note reminded me a bit of Laphroaig. On the palate, it’s definitely Ardbeg what you get. But also here is way more to explore and after that, it develops slowly into a long, satisfying finish. All nicely balanced.
Sample provided by Ardbeg.