Ardbeg 1999/2012 ‘Galileo’ (49%, OB, ex-Marsala and ex-Bourbon Casks, 15.000 bottles)

And here is Ardbeg. Last of the Islay whiskies to feature on Master Quill. The first Ardbeg is also the last one being released. Ardbeg Galileo. A Whisky that in part was matured in Marsala Casks.

Ok, two difficult words. Marsala? Galileo?

Marsala is a Sicilian red wine which mostly is sold for export as an fortified wine. Port and Sherry are also fortified wines. By the way, the Sicilians themselves drink it as… well a normal wine. We all know the Whisky market is booming, but the Sherry market isn’t. We also know that Sherry Butts and Puncheons made of european oak, are the best casks for maturing Whisky, and that good cask are getting scarse, because we, the consumer, don’t like Sherry too much. Sherry casks made of American wood, but foremost other casks, like Marsala, are used to see if they work.

Galileo Galilei was born on February 15th, 1564 and departed from this earth on the 8th of January, 1642. Galileo was an Italian physicist, mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher who played a major role in the Scientific Revolution [Wikipedia]. In the case of Ardbeg, Galileo was best known as an astronomer.

This bottling also commemorates the fact that Ardbeg is part of an Whisky experiment in space. On ISS some Ardbeg (and I guess it’s not the Galileo Whisky) in MixStixs are subject to experimentation on the topic of molecular maturation. (Can we mature whisky more quickly and thus make more money, by maturing it in space or at zero gravity? Or am I just being negative?)

Color: Reddish Gold

Nose: Obviously Peat and a lot of smoke. Non fishy, yet clean and almost industial smelling peat. Winey and wine related ash. Flowery and fresh wall paint. Sweet caramels, dried apricots and a hint of peaches on syrup.

Taste: Sweet. Ashy again. Wood and winey and a quick sour note. A little bit of liquorice and foffee. It actually tastes the same as it smells. Strange unbalanced soury finish with the cold contents of an ashtray and some mint lateron. There is not a lot happening in the finish. Astonishingly simple and short. The wine brings a sort of sourness that is all over the palate and isn’t doing the probably standard bourbon casked Ardbeg any good.

I hate to say it, but aren’t “Ardbeg” putting more money into marketing than in the actual Whisky? Don’t get me wrong, I love Ardbeg, just look at my top 25. Alas, this isn’t my Ardbeg anymore. It became some kind of hype, a brand, a handbag. It’s not bad, but I’m gonna pass on this. It makes my head spin.

I haven’t had any Marsala on it’s own yet, but tasting this Ardbeg, Marsala should be closer to Port than it is to Sherry. When using Marsala casks, don’t overdo it please!

Points: 82

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5 thoughts on “Ardbeg 1999/2012 ‘Galileo’ (49%, OB, ex-Marsala and ex-Bourbon Casks, 15.000 bottles)

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