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Ardbeg Kelpie Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky ($110): Every year the distillery celebrates Ardbeg Day. In addition to a party at the distillery itself they encourage aficionados of the brand to plan their own themed celebrations wherever in the world they are. They also release a limited Scotch each year tied to the event; this year Kelpie is that Scotch.
Kelpie was aged in a combination of Virgin oak from the Black Sea coast and ex-Bourbon casks. Kelpie marks the first expression of Ardbeg that was aged using Black Sea coast oak. The name Kelpie comes from local lore passed down through many generations. The Kelpie is rumored to be a shape-shifting water creature. It was bottled at 46% ABV.

Prominent bits of smoke and toasted pecans are evident on the nose along with a solid core of briny aromas. The firm palate shows off dusty dark chocolate, dried apricot, continued bits of toasted nuts and hints of burnt sugar. The prodigious finish is spicy and intermingled with a combination of sweet and savory flavors that come together to form an impressive ending. Much like their regular portfolio Kelpie does a terrific job of melding big smoky characteristics with rich flavors and sweetness that create a multi-dimensional and deeply layered Scotch.

If you’re a fan of Peaty Scotches, certainly Ardbeg is on your go to list of Single Malts. If however you’re new to Scotch in general or Peaty Scotches in particular, Ardbeg makes the perfect jumping off point. While they pride themselves on producing the most Peaty and Smoky Scotches out there, the offerings are always balanced by other characteristics that round them out. Kelpie is not exception, grab a bottle before it disappears into the night.

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