Usquaebach "An Ard Ri" Blended Scotch Whisky
Whiskey: Usquaebach "An Ard Ri" Blended Scotch
A limited edition release of Usquaebach blended malt Scotch whisky, bottled at cask strength and bestowed the name 'An Ard Ri', which translate from Gaelic to 'The High King'. Blue glass bottles (shaped like the classic Usquaebach flagon) were produced, housed in cases that make it look like the bottle is being protected from people being lowered down from the ceiling on a wire to steal it.
Proof: 114.2 (57.1% ABV)
Distillery: Bladnoch Distillery
The An Ard Ri ("The High King" in Gaelic) is the first new release from Usquaebach in nearly 25 years. This cask strength blend is a vatted malt made from more than 20 Highland single malts ranging from 10 to 21 years of age. The casks come from Master Blender Stewart H. Laing's personal collection and the whiskies selected include Inchgower, Benrinnes, Craigellachie, Glengoyne, Dailuaine, Blair Athol, and Auchroisk. Bottled at 57.1%, only 2,000 bottles were produced and released in 2016 within the United States.
Usquaebach "An Ard Ri" Blended Scotch Whisky Tasting Notes
Nose: A rich yet slightly taut, complex nose that's almost savory at times. Initially, there's light, floral honey, overripe pineapple, honeydew melon, and a mineral, almost white wine fruitiness. Close behind, malt syrup, cereal flakes, and leftover cereal milk mingle with almond extract and a hint of toasted pecans. There are some subtle old library notes, smooth and worn oak, and leather, and mild spice notes of vanilla bean, peppercorns, allspice, dried star anise, and clove. Behind all of this, loitering in the shadows, is a faint hint of peat. Adding a little water adds a bit of citrus sweetness, plays up the milky malt a bit more and gives everything a little more room to breath.
Palate: A quite nice, lush, viscous mouthfeel. There's darker honey now, along with juicy raisins, prunes, and mixed tropical fruits. While there's still notes of caramelized grain, there's additional hints of bittersweet chocolate, and a more pronounced nuttiness salted almonds and candied walnuts. The oak is sturdier but still of the old library variety. The spices are stronger and lightly herbal with quite a bit of black pepper and raw ginger, Vietnamese cinnamon, clove, and a bit of fennel. As with the nose, water brings out more citrus and a bit more nutty complexity.
Finish: A slightly wine-y, honey and raisin sweetness fades slowly along with a slightly bitter nuttiness, and a mix of tannic oak and spice.
Bladnoch Distillery is a Single malt Scotch whisky distillery in south west Scotland. It is one of six remaining Lowland distilleries, located at Bladnoch, near Wigtown, Dumfries and Galloway. The distillery is situated on the banks of the River Bladnoch, and is the most southerly whisky distillery in Scotland.