What can be said anymore about Mickey Heads? He’s the brains of the operation for all that we currently admire, and adore about Ardbeg such as the Uigeadail and Corryvreckan. This year, Mickey is celebrating a decade of delectable drams as distillery manager of the acclaimed Ardbeg distillery. Officially kicking off in late February, one of the culminating celebratory acts has been the Ardbeg Kelpie. With the #3Cheers campaign came the debut of the 2017 Committee Release of the Kelpie on March 9th that I was honored to receive from Mickey himself. As we sat and spoke about my love for Ardbeg Uigeadail, and his process for making magic, we then went into a conversation about how Kelpie is a prime example of what he and the distillery stand for.
The NAS, Kelpie is a very unique and intriguing experience. Matured in American Oak and Black Sea Oak, Kelpie provides a saltiness that I can’t recall tasting often in whisky of any variation. Without water, the intensity of the cask strength is definitely felt but matched well with a light flavor profile. As the pleasant saltiness (think peanut brittle) introduces the dram, a familiar Ardbeg flavor (if you’ve had Ardbeg then you know what I mean) reveals itself for the end of the ride. The surprise is a spiciness along the lines of black pepper that coasts throughout the middle of the sipping journey. With water, the saltiness is subdued a bit and blends into a more creamy taste reminiscent of salt water taffy with a touch of chocolate. It’s a beautiful and uncommon ride.
That essentially is what Mickey is all about; pushing boundaries and treading in uncharted waters. The use of Black Sea Oak?, I mean where are you going to find a whisky with that!? From the conversation we had, it was very evident through his explanation that his passion lies in exploration and diversity. Over the past decade Ardbeg and Mickey have been exposing the whisky world to intriguing drinking experiences and flavors that have become many a whisky fan’s all time favorite.
Today, June 3 2017, is Ardbeg Day and a great time to share with you the greatness of Ardbeg and Distillery Manager Mickey Heads. All I ask is that he continue to wow us with his discovery of new ways to create great drams! Now I’m off to try the Kelpie standard release and anything else Ardbeg I can get my hands on.
Happy Ardbeg Day!