Saturday, 15 September 2012

Whisky Discovery #162

Ardbeg Galileo 1999 (49% abv OB Bottled 2012 70cl)
Islay Single Malt Whisky
circa £75.00 70cl

Once again I am indebted to Andrew Purslow, a self confessed Ardbeg Addict who maintains a very special Ardbeg shrine in his whisky den, for the immensely generous 'slug' of Galileo he sent to me upon it's release. It came packaged in the original box too. If you use Twitter make sure you're following @Ardbaggie

This limited edition bottling released on the 1st September, celebrating Ardbeg's first ever experiment in space. You can read more about the launch on the Living Room Whisky website as Jon was fortunate in getting invited to the launch at the National Space Centre in Leicester

At the heart of this whisky is the hallmark Arbeg spirit distilled in 1999 and matured in the classic ex-bourbon bottles with the addition of some ex-Marsala casks from Sicily

So What Did I think?

There is lots going on in this malt; On the nose I got the hint of 'stable' and hay that was present in the Ardbeg Day tasted earlier this year, but there was much more sweet fruitiness to this expression, with a sooty note over the vanilla, caramel and even popcorn!

On the palate the peaty goodness that I would expect from an Ardbeg is dominant, the sweetness of dark fruits, and some smoky soot followed by a salty smack in the chops.

The finish seems to go on forever - well a very long time! There's burnt toast, (I love burnt toast) charcoal and both a sweetness and a saltiness that felt perfectly balanced to me, but all the time there are waves of smoke of a dying fire wafting through till the very end. I could even still taste these waves of smoke long after cleaning my teeth and going to bed - great to drift off into dreamland to!

There are many mixed reviews of this expression, yes, it has been hyped up and Ardbeg have probably made a good return on this expression. Let's not forget though, it wasn't long ago that the Ardbeg distillery was in danger of being lost to the whisky world, and you've got to make hay while the sun shines as I've been told many times.

The prices the bottles are exchanging hands for now is way over the top, it needs to be drunk and not saved away as an investment, it would appear that most of them have been bought for that, or turning a quick profit by selling as soon as distillery stocks were exhausted. This is a good drinking whisky, I love the sweetness the Marsala casks has added to the traditional Ardbeg 10 taste, bring it out as a standard addition to the range and I'll get myself one, but for my bang for my buck I'm very happy with their 10 Year Old and next on my list will be the Uigeadail

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