Whisky Review: Ardbeg Wee Beastie - The Whiskey Wash

Whisky Review: Ardbeg Wee Beastie

Editor’s Note: This whisky was provided to us as a review sample by Ardbeg. 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 towards the bottom of this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.

Peat lovers rejoice! Ardbeg added a new permanent expression to their line up, just shy of a year since their last permanent release. It’s always worth the wait, but sometimes Ardbeggians have had to wait over eight years for a new permanent bottling. The Ardbeg Wee Beastie promises a “tongue-tingling, beautifully smoky dram,” as the whisky makers set out to create the rawest, smokiest Ardbeg to date. 

Ardbeg typically ranges between 50 to 55 ppm (phenol parts per million). Before the Wee Beastie, Ardbeg’s smokiest scotch was the Corryvreckan. PPM refers to the smokiness of the barley before it undergoes distillation. There is a little caveat, the higher the ppm is does not necessarily indicate the smoky flavor in the bottle. For example, the Ardbeg Ten is perceivably smoky Ardbeg in flavor, but the barley is not heavily smoked. 

While founded over 200 years ago, Ardbeg hasn’t slowed down in producing world-renowned whiskies. The Wee Beastie isn’t the first Ardbeg to have “beastie” in its name, but unfortunately the Airigh Nam Beist was discontinued. Hopefully, the new 5-year-old Wee Beastie will not suffer the same fate.

I’m hoping the new Wee Beastie from Ardbeg will satiate my peat loving taste buds, so let’s see how it tastes…

Ardbeg Wee Beastie

Ardbeg Wee Beastie (image via Ardbeg)

Tasting Notes: Ardbeg Wee Beastie

Vital Stats: 47.4% ABV. Non-chill filtered single malt aged 5 years in ex-bourbon barrels and Oloroso sherry butts. 750ml $47. 

Appearance: Fair blonde. 

Nose: Smoked brisket burnt ends with a sweet touch of tangy barbecue sauce is the first thing I notice. Apple skin and apple blossom mix with herbal mint tea. The faintest of faint vanilla bean mixes with a struck match. 

Palate: Sweet spun sugar hits the tongue first, then fresh green apple takes over. The smoke is there from the peat, but it is underwhelming. Bland wood and leather fill in the middle. While there is a hint of salinity throughout the dram, there is also a touch of spice like cracked black pepper. Soot stays on the tongue during the aftertaste.

The Takeaway

Summary

The Ardbeg Wee Beastie is a decent Ardbeg, however it is a little rough around the edges compared to others in their line up. Yes, the whisky creators made a whisky the way they intended, raw and smoky, but it is just a little beast. Maybe I had my expectations too high initially because I assumed that is would taste peaty like a punch to the jaw, but I was disappointed because I didn't think there was enough peat.

Expectations aside, there is taste besides the peat, which makes the 5-year-old single malt enjoyable all around. I actually prefer this one on a big cube to smooth it out, but it's satisfactory neat. I think it could have stayed in the barrel six years versus five, and the Oloroso sherry butts didn't seem to impart much of a finish. There is a place for this on my home bar, so I hope it finds a place on yours.

4
User Rating 3.42 (19 votes)
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