SMWS 33.135 Peat-reek and barbeque char

Posted 30 November 2017 by Matt / In Ardbeg
The Dramble's tasting notes for SMWS 33.135 Peat-reek and barbeque char

Bottle Name: 33.135 Peat-reek and barbeque char

ABV: 60.2%
Distillery: Ardbeg
Bottler: Scotch Malt Whisky Society
Flavour Profile: Peated
Region: Islay

Fan-favourite Ardbeg comes around again for its 135th SMWS bottling. This youthful expression is 9 years old, having been matured in a 2nd fill oloroso sherry butt. Sherry butts are big, so this is one of 606 bottles. Peated Profile.

Nose: Surprisingly low-key on the smoke, but packed full of sweetness and farmyard aromas – toffee, treacle and fudge combine with pine, forest mosses, seaweed and  ton of barnyard and sty-like aromas. Smoke is present, it’s very earthy, like smouldering soils and has a hint of melting rubber types to it at the same time. Water brings a touch more sweetness and adds a slightly musky aroma and cheesy note – gruyere.

Taste: Big, bold, sharp and with much more smoke than on the nose. Still slightly farmy but with honey, almonds, salt and sour lemons all intermingling with the essence of a burning barn. The addition of water brings out more fruitiness – ripe green apples in particular.

Finish: Long. Really really long in fact with bonfire smoke, sharp citrus and a lovely progressive fade.

I don’t think it particularly matters what I say here – it’s a single cask Ardbeg and therefore it going to fly off the shelves immediately. But, is it any good? Well, yes, it’s pretty fascinating in fact, and somewhat baffling at the same time – sweet fruits (presumably from the oloroso butt), earthy smoke and a ton of farmyard. On paper that doesn’t sound like it should all work together, but it does. Really well in fact. Super complex, super interesting – go buy it now. Oh, you already did.

Score: 89/100

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