Apr 04, 2015

Meet the Cult Classic of Scotch Whiskeys

The Ardbeg Renaissance, Scotland's most peaty whiskey, makes a comeback.

Ardbeg Renaissance Review

Ardbeg Renaissance is the cask strength re-introduction of the flagship Ardbeg 10 after the acquisition of Ardbeg by Glenmorangie PLC in 1997 and is the last stop on the Ardbeg Path To Peaty Maturity. However, it was put out 4 years after Ardbeg and Glenmorangie were acquired by LVMH in 2004, but that doesn’t really matter since the juice was distilled 6 years before that secondary acquisition.

Turning to The Ardbeg Project for a bit of information we know that the Renaissance was initially launched at the infamous Feis Ile festival in 2008 and then moved out to retail a bit after. There was apparently 2 different bottlings of the Ardbeg Renaissance and when it was released it fetched a mere 41 BSP which would be $61.17 USD today. Though good luck finding it for even 4x that these days as this has hit cult collectible status and goes for 5x+ that at auctions these days.

Ardbeg Renaissance Review

Distiller: Ardbeg
Age: 10 years
ABV: 55.9%
Price: $350 – $500

Distilled: 1998
Bottled: 2008

EYE
Pear juice

NOSE
Peat and complex orchard fruit battle for dominance with alternate battalions of vanilla, honey granola and spice trying to work their way in. Subversive undertones of melon and frosting sweetness are also at work. Add some water and the melon disappears, but the surgery frosting sweetness becomes more noticeable along with a note of overcooked sugar cookies.

PALATE
Peat clearly leads the charge across the palate with notes of complex fruit, dark sweets, leather, vanilla, spice and agave like sweetness. Light notes of smoked salmon and malt come along for the ride. Water moves the fruit to more of a dried fruit profile and some interesting savory notes reminiscent of soy sauce show up towards the end.

FINISH
Long peaty finish with light notes of leather, fruit, spice, tobacco, wood and jerky.

BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
Great balance moving along the entire dram with a round body and thick oily feel.

OVERALL
Ardbeg Renaissance is really good stuff. The nose is a complex concoction of sweet and peat; the palate is complex, rich and flavorful; the finish is the kind of finish I want from an Ardbeg and then there’s the experience of drinking a high proof 10 yr Ardbeg… which is awesome. Tasting stuff like this kind of sucks in a way because all it does is make me look at auction boards and my finances and that’s a dangerous thing to do. Thanks Ardbeg.

SCORE: 92/100

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tagged scotch, ardbeg, ardbeg renaissance, review, single malt, whisky...