We’ve had two opportunities to taste the committee release from Ardbeg Grooves. The first was at the Islay Hotel and the second was at the Ardbeg distillery.
It underwent an unusual treatment with the use of heavily charred red wine casks. This heavy charring results in deep grooves in the wood, hence the name. It was a nice opportunity for the marketing team to give it some flower power. But all marketing aside, how does it taste? Here is our consolidated review from our recent trip:
Warming, glaced barbecued meat, red fruit, coalsmoke, spicy cinnamon, aniseed and nutmeg
A salty and peppery base with spicy red fruits, coalsmoke and charred meat, with a hint of fudge
Barbecued pork, ground pepper, savory and salty, a heavy whiff of peatsmoke and aniseed
Overall it’s a bit rough around the edges on the palate and the finish could’ve packed more of a sweet punch. Maybe it’s because of the Feis Ile 2017 Kilchoman and the superior Ardbeg Kelpie which we tasted alongside the Grooves, but the Grooves felt a bit rushed. With strong peppery notes and little wine influence. Great flavours nonetheless, but we can’t help but think of bottles with comparable treatments, which were (in our opinion) better executed: a Tomatin Single Cask on re-charred red wine and a red wine matured Kilchoman.
Score: 86/100, great flavour profile, but doesn’t tick all the boxes