On 28th May of 2016, Ardbeg released the limited edition ‘Ardbeg Dark Cove’ as the official bottle of Ardbeg Night 2016. Each year the distillery celebrates this day under the name ‘Ardbeg Day’ as part of the Islay Festival of Malt and Music. In 2016, to go along with their theme of choice – dark days of whisky smuggling around the island – they decided to call it ‘Ardbeg Night’.

Back in the days, to avoid the taxation, smugglers used to paint their ships black and transport barrels of whisky from Ardbeg cove to mainland Scotland at night time guided by the moonlight. Michael “Mickey” Heads, Distillery Manager explains;

“Distilling and smuggling whisky was once rife on Islay, and before the Ardbeg Distillery was founded the coasting roundabout was particularly notorious as a hideout for smugglers…”

Distillery defines this expression as ‘The Darkest Ardbeg Ever’. The ‘hearth’ of the whisky – matured in Dark Sherry Casks – combined with Ex-Bourbon matured Ardbeg spirit…

Ardbeg Dark Cove is a NAS product. It does come non-chilled filtered and with natural color. It is bottled at 46.5%ABV (Committee Edition is 55% ABV). According to the Ardbeg website, this expression is sold out but if you are lucky you may come across one…

Ardbeg Dark Cove

Ardbeg Dark Cove Whisky Tasting Notes

Color: Caramel

Nose: Definitely an Ardbeg expression on the nose with a sweet side… Nice balance of smoky bitter notes and fruity sweetness… Chocolate covered orange and lemon peels… Wood spices and oak aromas lingering around… Red berries create an orchard like environment… Roasted Coffee on the background…

Palate: Full bodied, warm and oily… Spicier than the nose… Strong amount of peppery spiciness makes the taste buds come alive… Sweet Raisins and plums accompanied by acidity from orange and lime balancing the overall profile… Darker and bitter flavors showing their presence in the latter stages… Burnt wood logs, charcoal and ash provide the smoky character… BBQ roasted pork…

Finish: Medium to long finish… starting with a toffee like sweetness leaving behind an ash like bitter taste on the tongue…

Ardbeg Dark Cove is a great example to ‘Peat meets Sherry Cask’ whisky. It manages to create a fantastic flavor profile which would please any whisky enthusiast. Unfortunately getting a bottle other than auction sites seems to be close to impossible. Still, if you are one of those extremely lucky people, don’t pass the opportunity to enjoy this great dram…

Enjoy Whisky and Enjoy Life…

Ardbeg Dark Cove Whisky Review
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