Ah, Ardbeg! Or as the Boston Brahmins might say, Ahdbeg! I nose your classical, Ardbegian nature and I wonder, in my fake Cockney accent, ” ‘ow ‘ard must I beg for more?” Amused with myself, I go straight for Oliver: “Please, sir, can I have some more?” The expressions on Bill and Stephen’s face tells me that I should move away from my preamble and into the body of my review.
This is a round and pretty and yet heavy nose. Consider a rare cocktail that places rubies in the tumbler in place of ice. They tinkle like a Peruvian rain stick tilted back and forth during a drought. I anticipate a rain that beats back the pollen and puts out the campfires. When it comes, it suffuses the atmosphere with some flinty freshness, smoke that augurs a phoenix’s renewal, and nuts dug up by gnomes playing tricks on the squirrels.
The mouth is delightfully raw, like snapping into fresh peas at a farmer’s market. Think of a bespoke saxophone reed maker buffing her wares against a possum belly. The possum’s angry hisses are pitched five steps above the tonic note of the scraping sound, so our reed maker starts humming the blues. Waves of heat bring fruit surfers curling along in a fructosian riot. But then there’s also a bold performance art project that puts pearls on a necklace with the glistening oyster bits still hanging there. “Authenticity,” the artist’s statement reads. Who am I to think otherwise?
The finish carries those late-arriving fruit notes like a fruitcake re-gifted, without embarrassment, to the original giver. Plums and apricots pulled from a Cuban sandwich, dark figs, and a rich and meaty lamb tagine. There’s such a coating aspect here that my vocal cords are soothed. With a nod, the reed maker invites me to sing with her and I do.