Why Buy: All Ardbeg releases are major events, but this debut bottling is a MAJOR MAJOR event. Officially, it’s a 23-year-old whisky from that turn-of-the-century year, 2000, matured in Oloroso and bourbon casks, and the second-highest age statement bottling in their line. But those specs don't begin to convey what a singular, quintessentially-itself, and massively peaty bottling this is – yet another triumph for the incomparable Bill Lumsden, a.k.a. Dr. Bill, and his stellar crew at Ardbeg.

The Story: Each time Dr. Bill gifts the world with another idiosyncratic, wholly original bottling, we always find ourselves wondering: how is he going to pull this one off. And then, after tasting it, we always find ourselves marveling at, not just the magic, but the more basic technical stuff – namely, how he  mixes (and ultimately masters)  the elements. (Always, of course, there is smoke, intense, mentholic smoke; no surprise there: Ardbeg uses the most phenolic malt in the industry.) But the quiet part of Dr. Bill's wizardry – the part that’s sometimes overlooked – is that every single time he manages somehow to bring so many distinctive and assertive elements into balance and even harmony. It's not for nothing that he is known, throughout the industry and, indeed, the drinking world, as "The Willy Wonka of Whisky." Nor that he has inspired so many drinkers to become fanatics – or, as they have come to be known, Ardbeggians, a moniker that (shades of another English literary giant) could have come straight from Tolkien.

The Bottling: Ardbeg envisions this as the first in a series of limited releases from the 2000s.

Our Tasting Notes: Let's begin with the incredible nose, so layered and complex we could go on for pages ... or for days. It starts off herbal, sweet, and fragrant, and with a hint of subtle smokiness. Trailing this, a zesty note of lemon balsam, and, in the distant background, of linseed oil and candied walnuts. Should you add a splash of water to the glass, the fragrance will intensify, emitting heather honey and a touch of creosote. The palate is like nothing else – with a vibrant, sherbetty effervescence on the tongue. At first the flavor is intensely sweet, then it modulates, becoming more complex, as notes of aniseed, toffee, peppermint, menthol, tar and coffee announce themselves. The finish is akin to the final act in a complex drama, with the sooty, tarry flavors building and deepening until, having reached their crescendo, they give way to the long, lingering aftertaste of lozenges, bitter oranges, and oaky tannins. Defiantly unconventional and completely unforgettable.

ABV: 46% (92 proof).

Fun Fact: One more literary reference for you: the Robb Report has called Dr. Bill "a tousled Victor Frankenstein giving life to single malts that become more powerful than their creator."

Our Guarantee: We always buy and source directly from the distiller, so you can be confident that your whisky will arrive in your hands with pristine provenance. Don't hesitate to secure yours today!


*Offer NOT valid in-store. This offer is made pre-arrival, with wines estimated to be delivered to your preferred store in Fall 2024. All sale prices are the lowest available at Total Wine & More and ONLY valid through Concierge Sales. No further discounts or coupons may be applied. Offer not valid in IL, KS, MI, NC, NY, TN, WA, & VA This offer will expire on Tuesday, June 5, 2024.