Black Sea oak dram to mark Ardbeg Day

14th March, 2017 by Kristiane Sherry

Islay single malt distillery Ardbeg will release a virgin Black Sea oak expression called Kelpie to mark 2017’s ‘Ardbeg Day’, which falls on Saturday 3 June.

Ardbeg’s 2017 Ardbeg Day bottling Kelpie is made using Black Sea oak

The release is the first from Ardbeg to be matured in Black Sea oak, which is the distillery says is rarely used in whisky-making due to the “deep flavours” the wood imparts.

This was the inspiration for Bill Lumsden, director of distilling, whisky creation and whisky stocks at Ardbeg, who sourced the wood which is grown and seasoned in the Adyghe Republic, Russia.

The resulting liquid was then married with signature Ardbeg, matured in ex-Bourbon barrels, to “amplify” the distillery’s characteristic style and create a whisky of “incredible depth”.

Given nosing and tasting notes include oily peat, dark chocolate, smoked fish, seaweed, herbal notes, black pepper, creamy coffee, pine resin, treacle toffee, smoky bacon, estery fruit, clove oil and black olives.

“Ardbeggians and their smoky malt friends will have the chance to celebrate with a dram or two of Ardbeg Kelpie, said distillery manager Mickey Heads.

“With a heart matured in Black Sea casks, this whisky’s extraordinary depth and its waves of salty seaweed and tarry rope, hint at what might be hiding under the sea…”

“For now, the finer details of our plans for will remain a closely guarded secret, but rest assured Ardbeg Day 2017 will be another legendary worldwide celebration of all things Ardbeg.”

Ardbeg Day is part of the Islay Festival of Malt and Music which takes place on the island in May or June each year. The festival’s final Saturday is designated as Ardbeg Day, which sees the distillery host a number of events. In 2012 the brand expanded the day to become a global celebration of Ardbeg.

While details of the 2017 day have not yet been disclosed, the brand is promising “underwater-themed” events to mark the occasion, in-keeping with the expression’s namesake, the kelpie. The mythical water demon is said to reside in the Atlantic Ocean off Islay’s shores.

Ardbeg Kelpie will be available for general release from Ardbeg Day, 3 June, from the brand’s ‘embassies’ for a two-week period. After that, the 46% abv expression will be stocked additionally in whisky specialist and deparment stores, priced at £98.00 for 70cl.

A special Ardbeg Kelpie 51.7% abv release, available only to Ardbeg Committee fan group members, will launch on 16 March at 9am on the brand’s website.

Earlier this month, Ardbeg marked Heads’s 10th anniversary in the role by encouraging fans to share a toast to him on social media.

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