Review : Ardbeg An Oa

Moving East to the Scottish Isles, taking a small break from my stint with Bourbons, I got my hands on more comfortable grounds, a smoky one this! The ‘An Oa’ , pronouned “An oh” is another one of Ardbegs now staple expressions that was introduced in 2009. Inspired after the rocky peninsular off the south west of Islay, the Mull of Oa, the distillers name the expression as an ode to the terrior that maketh the whisky!

Like many Ardbegs, the An Oa doesn’t have an age statement to it. This ones aged differently to the 10, matured in a combination of PX, exbourbon and charred virgin oak casks. The 10 is aged in ex-bourbon barrels exclusively, while the Uigaedel in a combination of sherried and ex-bourbon barrels. The expression’s special edition comes packaged in a bbq themed metal box with a smoker puck bundled – fancy!! Another reason to grab a dram perhaps, pairing it with your favourite meat!?

ABV : 46.6%

Eye : Amber |Non Chill Filtered, Natural Colouring

Nose : A whiff of vanilla, in a shroud of smoke and a drop of brine; earthy yet sweet, honey with the slightest bits of melon intertwined tightly with hints of caramel. Subtle but rich notes from dried fruits, hay with a growing prominence of tropical influences followed by a trail of ginger peels.

Taste: Earthy and moist, with a pinch of brine and herbal smoke. Toasted wood with a soft, mellow sweetness from vanilla and a whisper of richness from prunes; hints of cantaloupe, sundried tomatoes, mint and cigarette ash are finally trailed by olives, green pepper and bits of ginger and spice.

Finish : Medium | Herbal, earthy and woody with a mild sweetness and a touch of ash.

Velvety but thin, the expression is pleasant, robust and comes to me as a great everyday sipper. Lovely depth and breadth with the tete-a-tete between ash and earthiness very playful. I did feel the PX did lend its influence but not as pronouced as I would have expected, though not necessarily a bad thing. For AUD $110, it’s mildly pricey but still compensates for a decently priced peated whisky. And compared to its younger sibling, the Ardbeg 10, it fairs quite well, maybe a bee’s bum from the target!



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