Ardbeg: Corryvreckan

Ardbeg ‘Corryvreckan’ [2012/13] Ob. 57.1% WB88.75[1429] WF90 WM90[2]

A full bottle review, written over some time:

N: An exotic creaminess on the nose suggests there’s more age in this 2012-13 bottle than the Bruichladdich PC8 i have alongside. There appears to be enough steady ‘slow & sure’ wood maturation framed around soft & sweet creamy vanillas and a sweet-sour allium vegetal youthful freshness with a hint of sherried rancio, horse-meat and porcini mushrooms in the background for the anticipation to grow. It’s a vibrant yet also relaxed & inviting nose.

Ardbeg Corryvreckan 2

The oily phenols permeate the nasal airwaves on opening and remain doing so many months after, accompanied with a burnt-tyre, briny vegetal oiliness – the burnt note a mix of char and a whiff of desirable sulphur notes, it would appear. The smoke remains integrated but never obtrusive. I get further descriptors along the lines of pickled onions & salt n vinegar crisps mixed with crambe maritima/sea kale, moules mariniere, salty eggs [something about the connection between the sea, salt and chip shops going on here], more burned rubber [bands], onion tart and a soft=sweet peatiness. Not sure i’d immediately guess this as Ardbeg straight-off though comparing this with Ardbeg new make from the same period, the similarities are rather profound. Sweet meat, pickled onions [again,] plenty more salted crisps…. it’s a busy nose. As time goes on, there are more resemblances to Port Charlotte, some Octomore and even a little shout to Kilchoman too – so this is turning out to be quite the Islay tribute. With an amazingly dry-salty yet vibrant oily-slick & sweet n sour nose – how could anything else but good whisky create such an oxymoronic=phenomena?

T: The cask mix is rather tremendous, opening with a [bourbon?] savoury=sweet sea-vegetal freshness, an oaky-creamy smokiness and a well-weighted, fruity [sherried?] body –  the mix making sure this concoction remains youthfully savoury-sweet [bourbon?] balanced with [a sherried?] older element. Now it’s an oak=oily=peated, ashtray=bonfire-smoked malt with a truly desirable barley body with something of Bruichladdich at its heart and resemblances with the PC8 and its allium-vegetal centre that are most apparent, all with a watered mouth chew. It just falls away on the second half of the palate.

Ardbeg corryvreckan 3

F: Those creamy vanillas are back with more action before more smoky/malty-allium/vegetal-peat. There’s a dry smouldering oak finish and with Serge’s cider note WF that is spot on – that man is brilliant. Dry bonfire smoke mixed with hot sauna pine wood concludes,….. but then again, the finish isn’t finished. There’s then more swirling between the sweet-sour and smoky dry woods, and just when you think the dry smoke is closing up, the sour-sweet vegetal-bourbon vanillas come back for more.  For me, that vegetal-sour, sweet-vanilla remains key to Corryvreckan’s appeal.

C: A rather decent bottle from 2013 [that thankfully, I have one bottle of left from that year]. I would love to have the opportunity to compare two or three Corryvreckan’s from different years side-by-side – has that been done? Over the duration, I scored this between 88-90, so reasonably i’ll go with 89 – the palate falling away, the decider.

Coming soon: Whiskylive 2017 highlights & lowlights [there were no low-lights].