Experimental whisky crosses madeira casks’ sweetness with Ardbeg’s classic smoke

Aged 14 years, The Unicorn’s Tale is the second release in Distillery’s Anthology Collection of rare and strange malts

Ardbeg Islay single malt whisky today reveals a beguilingly sweet and smoky bottling – the second release in its Anthology Collection of rare and strange single malts. Ardbeg Anthology: The Unicorn’s Tale is Ardbeg’s first whisky matured in a marriage of Madeira wine casks and bourbon casks. Aged 14 years, this intriguing limited edition whisky takes smoky-malt lovers on a flavour-filled canter through powerful bursts of smoke, notes of banana, menthol and lime.

The Ardbeg Anthology Collection comprises unusual single malts from the Distillery, which cross classic Ardbeg with experimental stock for new flavour combinations. In homage to these whiskies’ outlandish “hybrid” style, each malt’s name and packaging are inspired by a different mythological creature, which some say they have glimpsed on Islay (although others are understandably sceptical…).

A dark horse of a dram, The Unicorn’s Tale fuses the tropical sweetness of whisky aged in Madeira casks with Ardbeg’s trademark zesty, smoky notes, resulting in a fruity, aromatic and smoky creation. It follows Ardbeg Anthology’s inaugural release, The Harpy’s Tale, which marries classic Ardbeg with the Distillery’s first whisky aged in Sauternes sweet white wine casks.

Dr Bill Lumsden, Ardbeg’s Director of Whisky Creation, said: “At Ardbeg we love to experiment with how we can push our spirit’s smoky balance into new worlds of flavour. Some time ago, we decided to try maturing Ardbeg in unusual cask types for the distillery to create sweet and smoky ‘hybrids’– and so the Anthology Collection was born.

“The Unicorn’s Tale is the second release in this series, which has been created by marrying classic Ardbeg matured in bourbon casks with a parcel of whisky wholly matured in sweet Madeira wine casks. The outcome is a whisky bursting with notes of banana bread and tropical fruit, fused with Ardbeg’s hallmark flavours of camphor, lime zest and wood smoke. This 14-year-old whisky may appear sweet in nature, but its smoky side is not to be underestimated!”

Priced at £130 with an ABV of 46%, Ardbeg Anthology: The Unicorn’s Tale will be available for purchase on ardbeg.com, in Ardbeg Embassies, at the Distillery Visitor Centre on Islay and in selected whisky specialists.

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