Ardbeg Dark Cove recalls the days of illicit distilleries and bootleggers smuggling casks to avoid the Excise Men...

In the dead of night, the craitur (literally creature) is smuggled from a small cove on the shores of Islay to a waiting black-painted ship where it will brave the rough waters on its way to the mainland with only the moonlight as a guide. Secrecy is paramount. One false move and the craitur will be discovered and the enemy will have his dreaded way. The precious whisky will be taxed by the Excise Man.

The days of illicit distilling and bootleggers may be long gone, but Ardbeg’s Dark Cove is a wonderful ode to the history of Scotch whisky. Released to mark the end of Ardbeg Day at this year’s Feis Ile, the Islay Festival of M/ardbeg-dark-coveusic and Malt, this expression may be heavily taxed by Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs, but it isn’t the least bit taxing to drink.

The colour of copper stills in the moonlight, this Islay single malt has been matured in a combination of ex-bourbon and dark sherry casks. The nose entices with dark chocolate, rich treacle toffee and distant bonfires, while the palate is smouldering with charcoal and wood polish, with raisins and dates emerging from the shadows. The finish is long and spicy with cured ham and squid ink noodles lingering.

This limited edition is one to catch before it returns to the shadows once more.

Ardbeg Dark Cove £110

Arbeg 10 Year Old £52 7 Jun 2016 13:56:50Ardbeg Corryvreckan £75 Ardbeg Uigeadail Gift Pack £60