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Ardbeg combines Madeira sweetness with smoke

Moët Hennessy-owned Ardbeg distillery has released The Unicorn’s Tale, which is the second expression in its Anthology Collection.

Ardbeg Anthology: The Unicorn’s Tale
Ardbeg Anthology The Unicorn’s Tale is offered at 46% ABV and retails for £130 (US$164)

Following the collection’s inaugural expression, The Harpy’s Tale, in August 2023, Ardbeg has revealed its second release in the ‘rare and strange single malts’ series.

The Ardbeg Anthology Collection consists of unique single malts from the distillery, blending classic Ardbeg expressions with experimental stock to create new flavour combinations.

Each malt is named after a different mythological creature, inspired by their outlandish ‘hybrid’ style.

The Unicorn’s Tale has been aged in Malmsey Madeira wine and Bourbon casks for 14 years, creating aromatic and sweet notes of smoke, banana, menthol and lime on the palate.

“The Unicorn’s Tale is the second release in this series, which has been created by marrying classic Ardbeg matured in Bourbon casks with a parcel of whisky wholly matured in sweet Madeira wine casks,” said Dr Bill Lumsden, director of whisky creation at Ardbeg distillery.

“The outcome is a whisky bursting with notes of banana bread and tropical fruit fused with Ardbeg’s hallmark flavours of camphor, lime zest and wood smoke. This 14-year-old whisky may appear sweet in nature, but its smoky side is not to be underestimated.”

Bottled at 46% ABV, The Unicorn’s Tale is now available at the distillery’s website, the visitor’s centre in Islay, and selected retailers with an RRP of £130 (US$164).

“At Ardbeg, we love to experiment with how we can push our spirit’s smoky balance into new worlds of flavour. Some time ago, we decided to try maturing Ardbeg in unusual cask types for the distillery to create sweet and smoky ‘hybrids’– and so the Anthology Collection was born,” added Lumsden.

Earlier this year, the distillery released The Abyss for €25,000 (US$27,190) and launched a new Vintage series.

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