Editor’s Note: This whisky was provided to us as a review sample by the party behind it. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link in this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.
On the remote Scottish island of Islay, Ardbeg whisky has cultivated and nurtured their name and spirit since commercial production began in 1815. The years have been good to the acclaimed distillery, and with the new Ardbeg Traigh Bhan 19 Years Old Batch 5, inspiration continues to be drawn from the sands of Islay, this expression named after Traigh Bhan (pronounced tri-van) beach, also known as the Singing Sands.
Of this batch of the ever-evolving Ardbeg Traigh Bhan whisky, Ardbeg’s Master Blender and Head of Whisky Creation, Gillian Macdonald, says “We are thrilled to offer whisky lovers and collectors across the globe an opportunity to explore another new take on this impossibly balanced favorite. We hope that this bottling will spark conversations between Ardbeggians and their friends about the finer details of this ever-changing dram.”
The Ardbeg Traigh Bhan 19 Years Old was matured in classic Ardbeg ex-bourbon and Oloroso sherry casks, with the sherry casks contributing to the subtle sweetness and smoothness of the whisky, a further evolution for this particular release, and a technique that is often utilized by Scottish distilleries in their finishes.
This is the fifth batch of the Ardbeg Traigh Bhan, and those batches that came before all held their own unique bottling methods. This batch was bottled in humidity, and the distillery claims this expression to be the most tropical in profile. Past bottling utilized coastal mists and full moons, conditions that the creators are certain impart special characteristics onto the whisky.
Each batch also carry a unique code, batch symbol, and initials from one of the Distillery’s head honchos; this batch’s initials come from the aforementioned Macdonald. The permanent 19-year-old Traigh Bhan has enjoyed such honors as the Gold Awards from the International Wine and Spirits Competition (IWSC) and the International Spirits Challenge (ISC).
Tasting Notes: Ardbeg Traigh Bhan 19 Years Old Batch 5
Vital Stats: Aged 19 years; Non-chill filtered; Matured in Oloroso sherry and ex-bourbon casks; 46.2% ABV; Small batch release, bottled in humidity; SRP $349.99.
Appearance: The color of soft, desert sand.
Nose: A light smokiness, familiar, comforting. Pineapple and menthol notes, with a eucalyptus soapiness that presents after some airtime.
Palate: This whisky is soft and quiet. Mild smoke that doesn’t burst through, but gently settles on the palate. Green olive, persimmon, and black tea notes offer a savory experience, and the smoothness is clear and present.