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Epic.

That’s word I’ve been looking for. This thing is just epic.

Actually, it’s Epic, with a capital E. I’d heard this was good, but I’d never been able to taste it, because it’s unavailable here in Quebec – and even if it was, it’d out of my price range. I’d wanted to purchase one on a recent trip to the US, so when another opportunity presented itself to grab a bottle I did… at the worst (best?) possible moment for the worst (best?) possible occasion: the closing night party for an art show by me and two of my good friends and fellow whisky lovers.

We actually used this whisky in our artistic performance that evening, because believe it or not, whisky is an integral part of our artistic process. I shit thee not. Sounds kinda pretentious, but it’s just the opposite, actually: we met over whisky, we bonded over whisky, we became friends over whisky, so whisky has a special place in our hearts. We often joke that making art together is just an excuse to get together and drink whisky. It’s gotten to the point where we’re wondering how we can integrate whisky – and (possibly) specifically our shared love of Ardbeg into our work… but that’s a whole other ball of wax. But needless to say, in one night we made quite the dent in the cask-strength bottle. Barely an inch and a half survived to make the trip back to Canada.

When we set-up the show I’d introduced my friends to the Ardbeg 10, which they of course adored. So I wanted to up the ante. And at 57%, the job was already done with the Corryvreckan. Just opening the bottle and sucking in a noseful I knew we were in for a treat. I was staggered. Literally, I think I almost fell over. All that makes Ardbeg Ardbeg is there in spades, boosted up: the barley and peat and smoke… all smoothed out, its edges polished… by a punch in the face.

It’s such a big whisky I had to enlist my wife Juliette’s palate to help get a grasp on it all and here’s what we came up with: charred hazelnut; burnt tires; leather; earthiness; rich campfire; and the more water you add to it, the more the citrus notes start coming through. Lemon and pepper. We started out without a drop of water and progressively added more and more and we went it got smoother and smoother, the citrus and sea salt taking more and more place amongst the peat along the taste buds. For something to unabashedly powerful it was shockingly smooth. This might have surpassed the Uigeadal as my all-time fave.

If only I had more than a few mouthfuls left.

Time for another trip to the US then, I suppose. Especially when you consider that I paid 74$ for this in the US and it’s listed at 185$ at the liquor stores in Ontario, the closest province that carries it.

So, Ardbeg, if you’re reading this, (and I know you are! Er, or not…) there are three artists who would love to make your whisky – which is a work of art in its own right – an actual work of art. Perhaps a little performance in the distillery or a video shot on your grounds? We’ll figure something out. Drop us a line… 😉

How could I rate this any lower than Fwooooooohhh!?

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