Ardbeg’s Grooves is the company’s limited edition release for 2018. Though the 60’s flower power is in full effect in name and label, Grooves is named after the grooves left in the barrels staves after heavy charring. Those barrels, ex-wine casks, only make up a portion of this expression. The rest, I’m assuming, is made up of ex-bourbon casks.
We’re looking at the Committee Release, which is a higher proof version available in much smaller numbers compared to the general release. In this case, Grooves comes in at 51.6% ABV and is available in very limited numbers for about $120.
On the nose, familiar Ardbeg characteristics are here in full force: smoked meat, earthiness, and some iodine. Notes from the wine casks join in the melody, providing a sweet and fruity counterbalance. The palate follows the nose, with sun-baked tobacco leaf and campfire smoke hitting your tongue first, followed by a wave of sweet berries, stewed apricots, spice and a slightly savory character. Every now and then I can pick out a tinge of vanilla. A bit more spice and toasted oak appear on the back palate and into the long, warming finish. Hints of coal, candied ginger, fruity sweetness and burnt orange peel linger.
Fruit and smoke is one of my favorite flavor combinations in whisky, and Ardbeg Grooves fits right in. Though I really enjoy it, my wife didn’t, and prefers the more straightforward profile of Ardbeg 10-year-old. The standard release of Grooves should be hitting shelves soon. While I’d suggest scooping up that expression, if you happen to see the Committee Release, don’t hesitate. You’ll certainly be taken on a groovy journey. 9/10
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