Showing posts with label Ardbeg An Oa. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ardbeg An Oa. Show all posts

Ardbeg An Oa Review

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“Say It Loud I’m NAS and I’m Proud”

Whisky Review # 716

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Ardbeg An Oa
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 46.6%
Maturation: A variety of casks. Bourbon and Virgin Oak are the most important 
Chill Filtration: No          
Price Range: US$ 60-70 (April 2018).
Buying Advice: đŸ˜€ Positive. Nice, Young, Modern Ardbeg.    


Pale Gold (Natural Colour)


Sweet, relatively Young, a little Dry and Coastal. The Smoke and Peat are still there but not in a dominant way. The Alcohol is not totally integrated. The Sherry cask influence is quite limited.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley, Buttered and slightly Burnt Toast, Salted Caramel/Toffee, Herbal Tea, Brine, Ashes, Candle Wax, Coconut, Banana, Green Apple, Smoke, Dusty Earth, Lemon, Grapefruit, Tobacco, Cinnamon, Pepper and Cocoa Powder.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Heather-Honey, Vanilla, Floral Soap, Fish/Shellfish on the BBQ, Iodine, Tar, Soot, Seaweed, Nuts, Mint, Aniseed, Licorice, Ginger, Dried Fruit and Leather.    


It is definitively a Young Whisky but somehow the quality of the casks mitigate this fact. It's a little Thinner than I expected and the Alcohol and Virgin Oak are more noticeable. Still nothing that suggests a large number of PX casks in the mix. Peat and Smoke are more noticeable at this point. The Palate is a mix of Sweet, Bitter and Salty notes. Not bad at all.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Malt, Salted Caramel/Toffee, Smoke, Dusty Earth, Charred Virgin Oak, Lemon, Grapefruit, Green Apple, Cocoa, Milk Chocolate, Wet Rocks, Cinnamon, Pepper, Cloves, Resin, Aniseed and Licorice.           

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Heather-Honey, Herbal Tea, Ashes, Tar, Fish/Shellfish/Bacon on the BBQ, Nuts, Grass/Straw, Ginger, Nutmeg and Cherry-Flavoured Cough Syrup.  

Good Length. Mostly Sweet but quite Lemony at the same time. Dry towards the end. I find Sweet Barley, Salted Caramel/Toffee, Heather-Honey, Herbal Tea, Tar, Ashes, Smoke, Lemon, Fish/Shellfish on the BBQ, Charred Virgin Oak, Aniseed, Licorice, Menthol, Dusty Earth, Caffe Latte, Green Apple, Pepper and Cloves.      

Drinking Advice:

No need to add Water to this An Oa. 

Rating: 85    

Nose: 21.5 - Taste: 21 - Finish: 21 - Overall: 21.5   

Drinking Experience:



The An Oa is named after the Mull of Oa in the South-West of Islay and offers the location of the Ardbeg distillery a bit of protection against the rough Atlantic. By giving this Ardbeg expression this name, the distillery wants to express that the An Oa shows the softer and rounder side of this distillery without losing out too much on the original Distillery character. It was launched in 2017 and forms part of the core range.

Maturation took place in no less than seven different cask types of which First Fill Bourbon casks, Heavily Charred Virgin Oak and PX casks are the important ones. After maturation, all these casks were subsequently married in a large French Oak vat that can be seen in The Gathering Room at Ardbeg.

I don't like most of the recent Ardbeg expressions that are average at best and way too expensive. So I was pleasantly surprised by the An Oa. It's a Modern Malt that should please consumers. Not too Peaty and reasonably balanced. It also shows that NAS Whiskies can be quite okay if you use innovative ways to mature young Spirit at a time when you have to consider the current lack of good Bourbon and Sherry casks. I think Ardbeg did a good job here. Sure, it's a Young Whisky but it somehow does not feel that way. It's reasonably well-balanced and it's tasty. And it's not too expensive. A worthy new member of the Ardbeg core range. I can recommend it. 

Jan van den Ende                                                                     April 12, 2018

The pictures were taken during our visits to this distillery in May 2017.