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Ardbeg An Oa is “beautifully delicious”, declares Jim Murray

16 October 2017

Expert hails Distillery’s new permanent release, while Ardbeg Corryvreckan triumphs

World whisky authority Jim Murray has given Ardbeg’s newest permanent expression an emphatic seal of approval. In his 2018 Whisky Bible, he lauds Ardbeg An Oa as “beautifully delicious”, awarding the expression 95.5 points out of a possible 100. Murray also heaps praise on other permanent expressions from the Islay Distillery, hailing Ardbeg Corryvreckan as a category winner.

Smoky, sweet and singularly rounded, Ardbeg An Oa is the first new permanent expression to emerge from Ardbeg for almost a decade. Released from September 2017, it is inspired by the Mull of Oa – the most untamed part of The Ultimate Islay Malt’s remote Scottish island home – and is uniquely created in Ardbeg’s Gathering Vat. There, parcels of whisky which include the richness of spirit matured in Pedro Ximénez casks, the spice of a parcel aged in virgin oak, and all the hallmark intensity of Ardbeg matured in ex-bourbon barrels, come together to form an single malt far more complex and rounded than the sum of its parts.

In the latest edition of his Whisky Bible, considered the world’s leading whisky guide, Murray delights in Ardbeg An Oa. He describes its nose as “Ardbeg at its driest and most sooty”. The whisky’s taste is “sublimely textured with an immediate roll call of sugars”, he says, adding: “The transformation from the delicate, molassed sugars into a softer vanilla is… effortless and easy. It is also beautifully delicious... I’d never say ‘whoa’ if someone poured me An Oa...

Other permanent expressions from Ardbeg also continue to win praise from Murray. He hails “deep and perplexing” Ardbeg Corryvreckan as the winner of the Single Malt Scotch No Age Statement (Multiple Casks) category, with a score of 96.5. Meanwhile, the “disarming allure” of Ardbeg Ten Years Old contributes to its exceptional rating of 97, as Murray urges whisky lovers: “Just close your eyes and enjoy...”

Ardbeg’s Director of Distilling, Whisky Creation & Whisky Stocks, Dr Bill Lumsden, said: “We are delighted to receive these positive accolades and the consistently strong reviews of Ardbeg whiskies are testament to the skill and craftsmanship we put into every bottle of Ardbeg.”