There is a new Ardbeg in town! Named the Ardbeg Wee Beastie. Not a limited, special release, as we’ve mainly seen in recent years, but a new addition to the core range.
The previous addition to the range dates back to 2017 which was the Ardbeg An Oa. A nice dram but not very special, as I had forgotten about it. But since I like a good Ardbeg from time to time, I was quite curious about this new youngster, which remarkably has an age statement on the label.
So besides the Ardbeg Ten (which was my first review ever!), this is the only other one with an age statement in the core range. And I think they made a bold statement here by putting the age on the label, precisely because this is such a young whisky. They could also have chosen the easy way, just by sticking Wee Beastie on it, so we might even have thought it was an 8 or 10-year-old single malt.
The price, however, might look a little strange compared to the Ten, which resulted in a lot of complaints on social media. But do we really know why that is, I mean the base price is probably exactly the same as to produce the 10 year old? And, unlike the Ten, the Wee Beastie is partly matured in Oloroso sherry casks, which are more expensive than the bourbon casks. So personally I find it a little bit short-sighted to be complaining about that.
Also, if you compare it with a number of others, this price is completely in line. Some are even more expensive and what to think of all those new distilleries that release 3-year-old whisky that is twice this price or up.
I’m not saying this to defend Ardbeg, because I also think they are often very over the top in terms of marketing, but I definitely think the age statement is a welcome change. So let’s drop this for now and let’s see how it tastes. Because in the end, that’s what it’s all about, the taste isn’t it? And whether you think that price is too expensive, I leave that to you. I just thought it was worth buying and trying.
This Ardbeg has matured in Ex-bourbon and Oloroso sherry casks and is bottled at 47.4% ABV.
Ardbeg Wee Beastie tasting notes:
Nose: there is some peat, of course. Plenty of lemons, that gives is a lovely fresh element. Somewhat salty. A hint of rubber, which disappears after a while. And some resin here, also a floral note in the background. Later some vanilla and black pepper.
Taste: peat too, but it is well integrated. It’s there, but not in your face or anything like aggressive. There is a lovely freshness to it, just as in the nose. Mint. Somewhat salty here too. And a very nice sweet layer. It’s oily. Somewhat ashy and black pepper.
Finish: mid-long. Fresh and minty. Oily. Black pepper and salty caramel.
I think this is better than the An Oa. This speaks more to me. The peat is present here, but not in an aggressive overwhelming manner. Which gives it room to other elements, such as that wonderful freshness, which is interspersed with a nice sweetness. A lovely summer dram, but it’s certainly not a beast.