Back in the annals of time i joined the Ardbeg Committee , i was just over the 1000th member , late 2000 an envelope came through the door offering us the chance to buy a bottle only available to committee members . There was a choice of two bottles from single casks , both from 1976 both sherry butts . This being the good ol’ days we ‘posted’ ( for you computer geeks that’s when you put something in an envelope , sticking a stamp on it and posting it in a funny red pillar box) it , we now had to wait and see if we were lucky enough to get one and it usually took 30 days – i know , some of you would be suicidal by that time but that was half the fun , when we didn’t expect to get things yesterday !
The choice of casks were from what was to become the legendary 239x series , I went for cask 2394 rather than 2392 , Distilled on the 24th November 1976 , it was bottled on the 18th July 2000 at 53.1% abv . A beautiful dark amber in colour , the nose is very fresh and open , sherry hits you first then the dried fruit – currants , sultanas ,cherries – a marzipan sweetness and a hint of peat smoke . There’s also a hint of smoky bacon and banana . The palate is very smooth , quite powerful as well , behind the initial sherry is the creamy coffee of so many other begs , there’s also humbugs ( minty ) and a peppery peatiness . The finish is just huge and long , again humbugs with pepper and a sweetness .
This is a colossus of an Ardbeg , a taster of good things to come , it doesn’t half bring back the memories of simpler times when getting a Committee bottling was great fun , oh for the Good old days !