Ardbeg Blasda (Taming your peat?)
By Franz Scheurer
The latest offering by Ardbeg is the Blasda, a whisky that is made keeping the signature Ardbeg peat in check and letting the complex sweetness come through. Blasda means ‘sweet and delicious’ in Gaelic and it’s made with ‘only’ 8ppm of phenol, so should be low in peat and high in complexity, allowing fruit aromas to shine. It’s also chill filtered and bottled at only 40% a/v, both almost sacrilege for Ardbeg. It’s bottled in a clear glass bottle with a simple, yet modern label and a large, gold ‘A’ on the reverse and reminds me of Kildalton, another one of Ardbeg’s special bottlings.
On the nose, I am sorry to say, it reeks of peat! Colour is very light and pale and typically Ardbeg and the aromas of peat are confirmed on the palate. I have no idea how anyone could not perceive this as a peaty, complex Ardbeg; it’s so typical it’s almost scary. Yes, it has lost some of the punch, no doubt a result of the chill filtering and the lower a/v bottling, and yes, this makes it easier to recognize the depth and complexity underneath it immediately, but in essence, this is no different in style from the flagship 10 y/o.
Vanilla flavours marry well with the heather-style flowery undertones and the long finish of Spanish hot chocolate. This is a great whisky to start the night with. Have it as an aperitif, savour it with some fresh goat’s curd and olives and be patient for the main course and the 10 y/o, which, no doubt, you’ll pour yourself next.
I bought my bottles in the UK, but it will be available soon in Australia through Moet & Hennessy.