Ardbeg Reveals New Committee Only 8 Year Old Whisky

By Allyson Nichols / July 17, 2021

Ardbeg has recently launched a new Committee-only bottling for discussion – Ardbeg 8 Years Old.

The release started out as a thought experiment by Master Distiller Dr. Bill Lumsden as he sampled Ardbeg casks at different ages and found what he felt were new dimensions of smoky flavor in the spirit. He questioned if Ardbeg Ten Years Old was the distillery’s ‘flagship’ aged expression and came to the idea that perhaps a new whisky, smokier, but balanced by ex-Sherry casks, could be a worthy centerpiece to the Ardbeg core range.

This led to the final product of Ardbeg 8 Years Old, a bottling the distillery wants to ask its Committee Members, how does it taste?

Ardbeg 8 Years Old

Ardbeg 8 Years Old (image via Ardbeg)

“Ardbeg 8 Years Old is a delectable, young and curious whisky – I like to think of it as the ‘alternative universe’ version of Ardbeg Ten Years Old. An aged ex-Sherry whisky is new territory for us, so naturally, we want some thoughts,” Lumsden said in a prepared statement. “We’re sharing this with the Committee’s experienced palates to help us find that smoky sweet spot. With notes of bold peat smoke, creosote, charcoal and salted caramel, it’s more than guaranteed to provoke discussion among those privileged enough to taste it.”

To celebrate the launch of the new bottling, Distillery Manager Colin Gordon will host a private online tasting for Committee Members only on July 30th, 2021. The Ardbeg Committee is free to join at Ardbeg.com/committee. Ardbeg 8 Years Old (50.8% ABV) is available to Committee Members for a retail price of £57 ($79.30 USD). Official tasting notes can be found below.

Color: Pale Straw

Nose: Intense with a burst of charcoal, creosote, tar and treacle toffee, with curious hints of something vegetal, like fennel, celery and green peppers. Once these subside, there are hints of milk chocolate, aniseed and wood smoke. With a little drop of water, some more herbal notes appear, like fennel, coriander and lavender, along with some characteristic Ardbeg aromatic wood smoke and a hint of fresh, salty sea spray.

Taste: A distinctively peppery mouthfeel eases into a complex symphony of flavours; treacle toffee, aniseed, salted caramel chocolate, eucalyptus, menthol and briar wood, to name but a few. The ‘tingling’, peppery sensation on the palate continues, with the sweeter flavours giving way to more savoury notes like charcoal, smoked bacon, burnt toast and tar.

Finish: The aftertaste is long and lingering, with a suggestion of peppermint and clove.