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Ardbeg introduces Anthology Collection

Islay distillery Ardbeg has unveiled a ‘smoky-sweet’ 13-year-old whisky as the first release in its new Anthology Collection.

Ardbeg Anthology Collection
Ardbeg’s Anthology Collection kicks off with a 13-year-old release called The Harpy’s Tale

The Anthology Collection will feature ‘experimental’ single malts matured in cask types that are new to the distillery.

The debut release, Ardbeg Anthology: The Harpy’s Tale, was aged for 13 years in a combination of ex-Bourbon and sweet Sauternes wine casks.

It is said to present a ‘completely unique’ Ardbeg expression, characterised by ‘a tussle between powerful smoke and rich sweetness’.

Dr Bill Lumsden, director of distilling and whisky creation, said: “We have embarked on a bold maturation experiment to fuse Ardbeg’s signature smokiness with more nuanced, sweeter notes for our new release The Harpy’s Tale – resulting in a very unusual and complex breed of Ardbeg.

“This is a dram that represents a battle between sweet and smoke – one I believe fans are yet to experience in an Ardbeg dram, and one that I’m sure they will be excited to taste for themselves.

“Collectively, the whiskies in the Anthology Collection will form a legendary, perfectly balanced and delicious series of rare and unusual Ardbegs, rich in both lore and taste. We look forward to revealing more in the collection in the near future.”

The 46% ABV liquid is described as having a ‘distinctively oily’ aroma, with touches of extra virgin olive oil, sweet briar wood and aromatic herbs, including coriander and sage, at the fore.

A splash of water is said to reveal more oiliness, with linseed oil and a slight waxiness.

On the palate, ‘soaring Ardbeg smokiness’ is said to be met with ‘swoops of Sauternes sweetness’.

A soft, oily mouthfeel leads the way into a rich, woody sweetness of dark treacle and balsamic. As smokier notes begin to emerge, hints of oak moss may be detected, while notes of aniseed lozenges, smoked apricots and eucalyptus oil emerge.

Finally, a long and lingering aftertaste of sweetness and smoke can be noted on the finish, alongside a touch of cumin, cardamon and a hint of coconut.

In homage to this unusual ‘hybrid’ style, its packaging takes inspiration from the fabled half-human and half-bird Harpy – an elusive, winged beast from ancient mythology.

The Harpy’s Tale will be available for purchase on, in Ardbeg Embassies, at the distillery visitor centre on Islay, and in selected whisky specialists for RRP £141 (US$179.50).

Earlier this year, Ardbeg launched a barbecue-inspired whisky, and a Fèis Ìle single malt.

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