This 1992 Old Malt Cask Ardbeg 12 Years was distilled under Allied back when Ardbeg was open only 2 months of every year (89-96). This was a time of uncertainty for the distillery and is a far cry from the peated powerhouse it is today. Despite producing some amazing whisky it wasn’t being marketed well by Allied and the market was in a lull, especially compared to today, and so demand was low.
This low production level is one of the reasons why I see older Ardbeg as more worth its premium than someone who has been producing at a high level consistently over the years like Macallan. When you’re only distilling 2 months out of the year there’s just not going to be much in the reserves. That doesn’t mean I’ll actually pay the sums they ask for things like the Ardbeg 30, I don’t have that level of disposable income, but it does make me frown a bit less. It also makes me appreciate things like this 1992 Old Malt Cask Ardbeg 12 Years a bit more.
1992 Old Malt Cask Ardbeg 12 Years Info
Region: Islay, Scotland
Non-Chill Filtered | Natural Color
Price: NA – Auction, specialty store or private sale
1992 Old Malt Cask Ardbeg 12 Years Review
Peat, buttery fruit, honey, earthy malt, minerality and saline dusted with bits of cinnamon, clove and vanilla.
Honey, fruit, peat, roasted grain, vanilla, salted buttered bread and light notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, minerality and saline.
Long peaty drawl of melon, buttery fruit, saline and roasted grain.
BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
Great sense of balance, full body and a round oily feel.
1992 Old Malt Cask Ardbeg 12 is a clean, crisp and pungently smoky dram with sweet and oily underpinnings. The aroma, on the whole, has a quality to it that makes me think of smoked fish. I’m not saying it’s fishy, but that combination of oily smoke and sea elicits that kind of an association. The palate brings me more to having a meal prepared over and consumed next to a campfire. The finish is like a dessert of fruit grilled over that same campfire.
Comparing it side by side with my L03 Ardbeg (’93 distillate) I definitely enjoy my L03 more. It has a deeper richer character to it overall, but as you can see this 1992 Old Malt Cask Ardbeg 12 Years is no slouch either. Crisp and rich at the same time, it’s just missing some of the depth I’ve found in older 10s. Regardless it’s still a rockin’ dram and a great example of good Ardbeg.
SCORE: 89/100 (B+)