The Islay-based Ardbeg distillery's latest Ardbeg Day Committee Release, Ardbeg Grooves, takes inspiration from 1960s Islay island life. To capture this era and feel, Ardbeg produced new casks for production and infused the spirit with smoked spices to capture the scent of a fading bonfire. The decision to take this strange inspiration came from the distillery's connection to the Scottish island and was done to capture the distinct culture that was established on the island during the 1960s.
Like most whiskeys from the Islay region, Ardbeg Grooves carries quite a peaty note, but the spirit manages to accomplish so much more on the nose and palate. The nose offers up dominate notes of saline and seaweed but is undercut with a distinct wood-burning campfire smoke. Based on the nose, drinkers may be expecting a smoking spirit, but Ardbeg Grooves surprises with incredible complexity. While peat is noticeable in the flavor, this note is quickly cut through with fruit—pineapple, orange slices and a hint of lemon. These fruits eventually turn to salted caramel before finishing on notes of banana pudding and a kick of smoke.