I’ve gotten the taste for Islay whisky and I think I’m done for. Seriously, not in a million years did this bourbon drinker think that she would crave the smoke. But here we are. To be fair I’ve had very few Islay whiskies, but the ones I’ve had…have done a great job in converting me. If you’re not familiar with Islay whisky, I’ll give you a brief wiki-fueled lesson.
Islay Whisky: A whisky made on Islay. Boom…just dropped a knowledge bomb!
Jk’ing. That’s just the beginning. Islay is an Island located off the western coast of Scotland. Islay is one of five whisky distilling localities and regions in Scotland whose identity is protected by law. Whiskies made on the southeastern part of the Island have strong smokey characteristics derived from peat. What is peat you ask…peat is an accumulation of decaying vegetation or any organic matter that is native to an area known as peatlands, bogs, moors, muskeg, or mires. I literally have no idea what any of those things are, but goddamnit they sound cool. Also, the peatland ecosystem is the most efficient carbon sink on the planet. There’s some chemistry and science sh*t as to why, but I’ll let you google that yourselves. There’s also a bunch of other stuff but as I said already…you can just google those yourselves. That’s why we have google.
Let us get into Ardbeg.
Ardbeg is a distillery on the Isle of Islay. It’s owned by Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy. The distillery began producing whisky in 1798 and saw commercial production in 1815. According to the wiki, Ardbeg is considered to be amongst the peatiest of whiskies. They seldom release whisky with age statements and they don’t chill-filter. From what I’m gathering, Ardbeg releases an annual whisky for Ardbeg day on June 2nd. Which celebrates the distillery’s opening day. This year Grooves is to transport us back to the summer of love during the ’60s, saying they are rolling back the years to an Islay time gone by – back to the village of Peat & Love. Part of this whisky has been matured in re-toasted in red wine casks. I quite like it when whisky is matured in toasted barrels. I think it makes for some delicious flavour. The casks were charred heavily which produces grooves in the wood resulting in some pretty intense flavouring. Non-chill-filtered at 51.6% ABV or 103 proof. My bro on Instagram @damnfinedram sent me this sample and I am super thankful he did. This is like sniffing and sipping a campfire. I am always amazed at how something can smell sweet and smokey at the same time. I was blown away, almost literally. Groves has most certainly taken my palate to unknown taste territory. My first Ardbeg and not to be my last.
Mia Wallace said it best…’I said god damn, god damn”.