Inspired by the most untamed part of Ardbeg's remote island home, the An Oa (pronounced “an oh”) is described as a "smoky, sweet and rounded single malt".
Set to be released this September, the new expression will be the first new permanent expression to emerge from Ardbeg for almost ten years.
The An Oa will now join the Ardbeg Corryvreckan which was launched in 2009, the Ten year old, released in 2000, and the Ardbeg Uigeadail which was unveiled in 2003.
Islay’s Mull of Oa is located at the island’s southernmost point, the headland’s towering cliffs stand defiantly against the raging Atlantic storms, providing welcome shelter for Islay’s south coast, to which the Ardbeg Distillery has clung for more than 200 years.
The brand say the Ardbeg An Oa will pay homage to its "untamed provenance", with contrasts of "powerful intensity and sweet silkiness that celebrate the spot where storm meets calm".
Created in the Distillery’s new bespoke Gathering Room using the Gathering Vat – which was specially created from French oak to "bring the single malt into being".
The distillery team explained that the different layers of whisky slowly mellow together within. With "the richness of spirit matured in Pedro Ximénes casks" joining the "spice of whisky aged in virgin oak" and the "hallmark intensity of Ardbeg matured in ex-bourbon barrels".
Ardbeg’s director of distilling, whisky creation & whisky stocks, Dr Bill Lumsden, said: “There is a wonderfully Ardbeggian magic to The Gathering Room, where the parcels married together in this whisky merge over time, to reach new levels of complexity.
"Ardbeg An Oa’s rounded and subtly smoky aromas reflect all the contrasts of the Mull of Oa, with notes of creamy toffee, aniseed, dates and hints of peach and banana.
"The whisky’s smooth, creamy texture leads to a huge syrupy sweetness on the palate, as milk chocolate, orange and smoky tea leaves mingle with sweet spices, cigar smoke and – unusually – grilled artichokes, before a lingering, seductive and smoky finish.
"It is years since the world’s smokiest, peatiest Islay malt added to its core range. We hope smoky malt whisky fans everywhere will be drawn to Ardbeg An Oa.”
Non-chill filtered and bottled at 46.6% abv, the Ardbeg An Oa will have an RRP of £49 and will be available in specialist retailers from September 2017.
Colour: Harvest gold
Aroma: Rounded and subtly smoky (applewood smoked), with creamy toffee, aniseed, treacle and dates. A curious suggestion of juicy fruits, such as peach and banana.
With a drop of water, come reminders of Ardbeg’s classic fragrance – lime, pine resin, fennel, saddle soap and tar. A gentle waxiness, like fragrant candle wax, and hints of smoked herbs.
Taste: A smooth, creamy texture leads into a huge syrupy sweetness, flavours of milk chocolate, treacle toffee, aniseed, orange and smoky tea leaves. Gentle, sweet spices (nutmeg and cinnamon), some cigar smoke, and a very unusual flavour of grilled artichokes. Long and sweet, with floral overtones, mint toffee and some gentle malty/biscuity notes.
Finish: Lingering, seductive, gentle yet intense, with flavours of aniseed, hickory and distant subtle smoke.