The yearly Ardbeg Day turned to a Ardbeg Night this year, on the 28th of May 2016, with Ardbeg distillery releasing Ardbeg Dark Cove as this years Ardbeg Day whisky. This is what the distillery says about the whisky:
Take this whisky and hide it well. For its heart has been matured in DARK SHERRY CASKS, imparting waves of treacle toffee, coal tar, squid ink, noodles and toasted coffee grounds.
Inspired by our turbulent past, this whisky is a clandestine meeting of Ardbeg matured in ex-bourbon casks and a heart matured in dark sherry casks. The darkest Ardbeg ever.
I joined a tasting at The Whisky Bar last Saturday where David Francis presented the whisky. He served us the 10 YO as an aperitif. The second whisky was Corryvreckan and then came Uigeadail before Dark Cove. Ardbeg Dark Cove is a heavily peated whisky (50-55 ppm) bottled at 46,5 ABV. It will be available in Norway 3rd of June 2016.
Light on the nose. I did not recognize the typical sherry notes. I found salt, lime and eucalyptus. It was a bit sharp. A lot of ash and smoke on the palate mixed with salt, pepper and spices. A bit sharp on the palate as well. Not a complex whisky but still sort of rich. The finish was mostly ash, white pepper and black pepper. There was not really much else happening. Quite balanced.
My score: nose 21 / taste 21 / finish 21 / balance 21 = 84
Personally I would have served the Dark Cove as whisky number one or two in the line-up. I do not think it was fair to enjoy Corryvreckan and Uigeadail (such a lovely whisky!) first. Maybe not even the 10 YO. When I tasted Dark Cove later that same evening, I thought it had some more sherry notes than earlier and it felt less sharp. I will definitely give it another try if I get the chance. The Committee release is bottled at a higher ABV. I would have loved to taste that one.