Swill: Ardbeg’s 200th Anniversary Single Malt Islay Scotch

ardberg perpetuum

Swill is our bi-monthly column dedicated to liquor, wine, beer, and every other delicious dram that falls under the broader umbrella of booze. But it’s more than just tasting notes scribbled on a cocktail napkin — Swill is about getting outside of your comfort zone, trying new things, and exploring the big, wide world of libations. One week you might catch us halfway through a bottle of single-malt scotch, and the week after that we might be buzzing on some Ugandan moonshine made from bananas. This column is just one big boozy adventure, so grab yourself a glass and join us for another round.

If you’ve been reading this column for a while, you’ve probably noticed that I don’t write about whiskey all that much. Allow me to explain why.

It’s not that I don’t like whiskey. Quite the contrary, actually. I love whiskey like a fat kid loves cake, and it’s without a doubt my favorite type of booze. I could write about whiskey until my keyboard turned to dust — but in my opinion, whiskey doesn’t need another advocate. It’s already one of the most popular drinks on the entire planet, and there are zillions of blogs and websites dedicated to promoting it, analyzing it, and rating it. So, the way I see it, the last thing the world needs is another whiskey blogger.

I usually try to cover obscure and underrated booze that people don’t already know about, and let you guys know about stuff that you might not normally try — but every so often a whiskey comes along that’s so tasty and unique that it compels me to break my rule. Ardbeg Perpetuum is one of those whiskies.

Perpetuum is the name that Ardbeg has given to its limited edition 200th anniversary single malt islay scotch. The distillery usually does some sort of special release each year for Ardbeg Day (May 30th), but this year was particularly special.

For the big 200, the company made a scotch designed to showcase its past, present, and future. To do this, the distillery’s head “Whisky Creator” drew inspiration from the different styles of whisky his predecessors had created over the last 200 years — and the result is some damn fine scotch.

On the nose, Perpetuum invites you in with delicate hints of smoked meat, sea salt, and ripe fruit. When it hits the palate, the smoke comes out even more — though it’s not overwhelming, and actaully quite mild in comparison to a lot of islays. Layered in along with this smoke you’ll find some fresh low-tide seawater flavors, and a bready malt that’s almost like sourdough. On the way down, you get a spicy, fruity finish that leaves you wanting more.

It’s not terribly complex, but it’s so well-balanced and flavorful that it’s almost worryingly drinkable. Be careful with this one, guys!