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Grooves is the 2018 limited-edition whisky released to celebrate Ardbeg Day. For this year’s bottling, director of distilling, whisky creation and whisky stocks Dr Bill Lumsden has matured part of the whisky in re-toasted red wine casks. These casks were intensely charred to create heavy grooves in the surface of the wood, designed to produce more intense flavours.
Nose: Smoked cinnamon and paprika, antique leather and saddle soap, with classic Ardbeg scents of pine resin, tar and briny sea spray in the background. A distant hint of a fragrant bonfire and, finally, an unusual savoury note, like chili-seasoned meats.
Palate: A powerfully salty mouthfeel moves to sweet treacle toffee, vanilla popcorn, salted fruits with soot and tar. More savoury notes of smoky BBQ, paprika and mustard spice, fading to smoked pears and apples, almost like pear cider.
Finish: Smoked paprika and bonfires with a mellow sweetness throughout.