The ever popular Limited Edition from Ardbeg is a yearly release that's slightly more available than the Committee Release from a few months previous. This year's release is another unusual experiment and a throwback to the summer of love. Back in the late '60s, the tiny hamlet of Ardbeg thrived on the southern coast of Islay, a de facto commune on that far flung island on the western coast of Scotland, the queen of the Hebrides. There, a small community enjoyed an alternative lifestyle in one of the world's most unique locales. This era of openness and love inspired this special whisky. It begins with Islay's most heavily peated whisky. There's not too much detail about the process, but one assume they begin with reused American oak. Then the whisky is aged for an undisclosed amount of time in a heavily charred red wine cask. The casks are not cleaned or shaved before charring and the resulting pattern is what gives the name. Similar to the old Alligator, the new charred oak with the sweet, intensely peated malt is a match made in heaven. Add the caramelized fruit and spice of the red wine casks and you've got one of the most exciting and unique Ardbegs yet to be released. Expect big smoke, deep candied apple, and sweet smoked fruit. A totally groovy experiment from our good friends on the south shore.
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