Ardbeg Grooves was released in celebration of Ardbeg Day 2018, and as ever, the Islay-based distillers have created a most intriguing expression. Part of the whisky that makes up Grooves was matured in red wine casks that were very well-charred, resulting in heavy grooves in the surface of the wood. A mellow though flavoursome dram.
Nose: A thick, spiced aroma of iodine, seaweed and golden syrup leads among a herbal note of lavender. An earthy funk from damp bonfire wood, old oak and dried grass is complemented by lighter touches of butterscotch, stone fruits and a little marzipan icing.
Palate: Vanilla fudge, toffee popcorn and tarred orchard fruits rise through a big, salty opening. Savoury BBQ notes of cured Italian meats are percolated by paprika, green chilli and scorched herbs. Antique leather and damp oak form an interesting backdrop.
Finish: Seaside bonfire and smoked salts percolate through a mellow sweetness.