Nose: Soft, sweet peat, sweet spirity notes, tarred ropes, coal dust, barbequed pineapple (à la St Heston of Bray), a touch of dirty sump oil, pine needles, freshly smashed-open coconut, dry breadcrumbs and crushed seashells. A few drops of water calm down the phenols and reveal syrup glazed pineapple upsidedown-cake (one of my specialities) and stewed gooseberries.
Palate: The first thing I noticed was that it wasn’t as sweet as the nose might have suggested, at least not in an upfront syrupy way. Instead it had unsweetened tropical fruit and sharp edged Fruit Salad chews, filled out with rich fruitcake sweetness, although this is Ardbeg so it was more a ‘smoked fruitcake’ hit, along with cold coal stoves, dark wood, a hint of leaf mulch and some sea spray. Water yet again calmed down the peat, revealing a bit more sweetness from the fruit.
Finish: On the swallow there was a burst of tarry phenols, which faded to leave lingering damp wood and leaves.
Comment: At first I though it’d be way too sweet for my currently savoury palate, but instead it was rich and fruity, eschewing syrup for sweet smoke and earthiness. A successful experiment