Ardbeg Dark Cove Said To Be The Darkest Ardbeg Ever - The Whiskey Wash

Ardbeg Dark Cove Said To Be The Darkest Ardbeg Ever

By Nino Marchetti / March 18, 2016

Scotch whisky distillery Ardbeg really knows how to whip its fanbase into a frenzy as the days count down to the annual Ardbeg Day whisky release. Last year things got quite nuts with the Perpetuum release, stemming from time well before the Committee bottling was unveiled until the day of the actually mass market push. Now history is repeating itself for 2016 as the new Ardbeg Dark Cove is up to bat.

Buzz about Ardbeg Dark Cove online begin months ago, as discussion threads in places like Reddit speculated on what might make this the so-called “darkest Ardbeg ever,” based upon information leaked from the approved TTB label:

Its colour is that of copper stills in moonlight. Its nose – dark chocolate, rich treacle toffee and distant bonfires – betrays a secret: a clandestine meeting of Ardbeg matured in ex-Bourbon casks and a heart matured in dark sherry casks. Hints of pepper spice and zesty lime lure you in. Smouldering charcoal and wood polish flit across the palate, with raisins, dates and ginger emerging from the shadows of tarry creosote. Echoes of cured smoked ham and squid ink noodles signal the arrival of a long spicy aftertaste. Take this whisky and hide it well; For it is Ardbeg’s darkest spirit ever.

Fast forward to now, when the Committee release has now come out, and here’s more of what’s known about this whisky. It is a non-age statement bottling, much like Laphroaig Lore and Highland Park Dark Origins, which was matured in a combination of ex-bourbon and dark sherry casks.

What exactly is a dark sherry cask, you might ask? It is not really clear at this point from this writer’s perspective, so let me point to a couple of others online who have a thought on it, plus an observation of the actual whisky based upon getting hold of a sample:

  • Whisky Notes: “heavily seasoned (PX?) casks”
  • Dramming: “it’s not even as dark as my Uigeadail”

I encourage you to visit the sites and read their full articles on it. In the meanwhile, the Committee release, not surprisingly, is already pretty much sold out everywhere on the primary market. This means you’ll have to wait, unless you want to hit the secondary market world to pick it up at a premium, until the lower strength ABV offering comes out May 28th.

As for what the whisky’s flavor profile looks like, here’ some official info on that from a Moet site out of Australia that’s associated with Ardbeg’s parent company:

Its nose is at first meaty, earthy and spicy, with bold notes of dark chocolate emerging against orange, treacle toffee, coffee and oak, a smoky background and a mysterious floral note. The mouthfeel is almost tart, with raisins, dates, ginger and pepper spice surge and waves of smouldering charcoal, wood polish and creosote notes, leading to cured smoked ham and squid ink noodles. The finish is long, spicy and rich with notes of toffee, coffee and tar.

Now, if this sounds interesting to you, expect to pay around £86 (about $125 USD) when it debuts. Until that happens, you can entertain yourself with the fun video below Ardbeg has prepared as part of the back story of Dark Cove’s origin.