Friday, January 19, 2007

Malt Mission 2007 #15

Ardbeg Serendipity
Supreme Blended(Vatted) Malt Scotch Whisky
40% abv
£35 (and rising)

Ah, the end of the third week of this malt mission and I can see at least 3 more weeks coming off of that shelf. Woo-hoo! Thanks for reading.

It has been a week of vatted malts from Compass Box, and seems appropriate to finish with a critically acclaimed and currently VERY hard to find bottling from Glenmorangie plc. Royal Mile Whiskies' website already gives this malt 'dearly departed' status.

Glenmorangie owns Ardbeg and Glen Moray, and the Bailie Nichol Jarvie blend. They are all owned by Moet Hennesey/Louis Vuitton. STYLISH!!! This means the product launches have stepped up a notch, d'accord? It also means they use the same bottling plant, which is necessary to understand if we are to believe the following.

Ardbeg Serendipity is, as the story goes, the result of a most serendipitous accident. Whisky is dumped from casks into tanks for bottling. There was apparently some Glen Moray 1992(12 yr old) still in the tank when they began dumping OLD (I have heard everything from 20-30 year old, I have heard 1977, I have heard older. Possible it was a bunch of underproof aged casks, but who knows?) Ardbeg into the vatting tank. Oops. Result is 20% Glen Moray 12yo and 80% OLD Ardbeg.

is NUTS for the stuff and has been through 3 bottles since the beginning of November. Okay, I helped.


Sweetness comes off first, bourbony vanilla. Then comes the dirtiness. Peat, feet, sweat, diapers/nappies. Wet stone(?), moss, earth. Still sweet, creamy (Coffee Mate?) and these flavours arrive together, beautifully united rather than on two separate planes, which is unexpected.

Vanilla, peat and chocolate. Smoking while changing a diaper (like in the good ole days... can you imagine seeing that today? we would all turn up our noses, no doubt...). Baby powder, and skin. Briliant mouthfeel and the initial attack of flavour is SO pleasant, like a bubble popping that contained essence of sweet cakes, vanilla, fire and flatulence(okay, maybe not so pleasant, but great in context of this whisky's character).

This stuff isn't pretty, but it is pretty drinkable.

ps. About 5 minutes later I had a nasty metallic and chlorine like taste in my mouth.


The Malt Maniacs felt that this could "invoke the wrath of anoraks worldwide", but I find that absolutely ridiculous. I guess it is possible if by 'anorak' they mean wealthy whisky collecting Europeans with "doubtful gaze" set as their default perception. But then, who cares. Those customers already have MANY niche products geared for them(the link is but one example). Serendipity is not one of them, so leave it to those of us who are, what fancy term shall I use...aha! 'Skint whisky lovers.' (Besides, anoraks are supposed to be interested in obscure things that are terminally unfashionable. With whisky, at least for right now, that is certainly not the case.)

Serendipity is tasty, tasty whisky. I would compare it to yesterday's Compass Box only to call Serendipity the ugly older sibling to the kinder more sophisticated Eleuthera. But Serendipity is a great whisky and, as I have said before, the most guilt free way to quaff very old Ardbeg. Although with its limited availability, those guilt-free days are numbered.

Malt Mission #10
Malt Mission #11
Malt Mission #12
Malt Mission #13
Malt Mission #14

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Anonymous said...

Serendipity is AMAZING. I had to find myself a small hip-flask so I know that I always had some close to me, especially with fog and snow and the cold.

Anonymous said...

I just had some whisky virgins over for a tasting. Serendipity was on the menu; sceptisism was in the air. But that only lasted until the instant inspiration in that bottle made me utter "whisky is your friend, not an enemy to be killed as fast as possible". Serendipity and I won them over. They will be back for more...(please send more rations)