Saturday, May 30, 2015

Ardbeg Perpetuum

I never miss an opportunity to check in at one of my regular bottle shops when it's nearby. Yesterday morning found me passing through the Shinjuku Takashimaya, a higher-end department store here in Japan. Usually, their prices border on insanity, but at times they do end up with some limited-edition offerings at the same prices as major liquor stores, likely because the makers have imposed restrictions to make it that way.

I scanned and double-scanned the few shelves there dedicated to whisky and was about to leave when some Ardbeg boxes on one of the bottom shelves caught my eye. At first, I just stared in disbelief; it was May 30, Ardbeg Day at the Islay Festival, so the arrival of Perpetuum on that day made perfect sense, but I had heard from multiple sources that they wouldn't be available in stores until well after that date. They were there, though, and instinctively I grabbed the two bottles I had been waiting to buy for months.

When you grab two $100 bottles of whisky at Takashimaya's wine & spirits shop, one of the many shop clerks will quickly swoop in for the kill.
"Would you like me to take those to the counter and wrap them up for you?"
I asked to her to give me a minute and remained there, stooped down, looking at the boxes to make sure they were the genuine articles.

Seriously, I don't know why I was so surprised, but it must have been the anticipation; I'm a total Ardbeg donk and would probably buy a bottled turd if they produced it.

Anyway, I did a quick online check (whisky hunting in the smartphone age - gotta love it) of the standard selling price for Perpetuum. The clerk didn't back off, though, and I uncomfortably spent several minutes making sure I wasn't paying too much.

Fortunately, It seemed I was about to pay a reasonable price for the bottles and I asked her to do her thing so as to complete the purchase.

Facts:

  • 47.4% abv
  • Matured in bourbon and sherry casks
  • NAS
  • Ardbeg Day 2015 limited edition (200th anniversary) - not the distillery release
  • Paid ¥11000 ($89 US) in Tokyo


Tasting Notes

Appearance:
Clear, light gold a la Ardbeg Ten Year

Nose:
Honey-glazed ham, coastal fog, wet grass, slightly medicinal, day-old barbecue pit

Palate:
Acrid smoke becoming spicy, oak and ash, burnt bacon, slight taste of liquorice, some chocolate as well. A bit thin, though

Finish:
Bitter, long and warming, smoky to the end

Conclusion: A tasty, enjoyable Ardbeg to be sure, but I'm not convinced at this point that it's better than last year's Auriverdes. However, I'd like to give Perpetuum another go in the next few days and see if anything changes.

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