Review: Ardbeg Wee Beastie

The modern Ardbeg 10-year-old expression has been the standard for all other releases from the distillery. It might just be the most perfect expression of Ardbeg’s distillery profile. Uigeadail, Corryvreckan, An Oa, and the venerable 10-year-old are now joined by Wee Beastie as part of Ardbeg’s core range.

Wee Beastie is a 5-year-old whisky matured in ex-bourbon and Oloroso sherry casks. Bottled at 47.4% abv, Wee Beastie might be young, but it’s definitely a bit feisty.

Upon pouring it into a Glencairn glass, that big brooding Ardbeg character wifts into the air. Ardbeg’s painting with broad strokes here. Big notes of citrus peel, freshly ground peppercorns, smoke, SMOKE, and seaweed dominate. The initially sweet, weighty palate quickly turns savory, showcasing hints of tar and smoked salmon. Herbs and dark roasted coffee beans add some complexity. The finish is long, with lingering notes of Mexican hot chocolate, campfire smoke, and lemon peel.

Wee Beastie is an interesting whisky. It balances the vibrancy of a young whisky with the cohesiveness of flavors its older 10-year-old sibling is known for. Ardbeg Distillery Manager Mickey Heads said Wee Beastie is “as close to the still as possible.” Of all of Ardbeg’s recent releases, that’s definitely true. A monster of a dram indeed. Recommended!

Thanks to Ardbeg for the sample. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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