Cadenhead’s 1991 Ardbeg 21 Year Old Review

1991 Cadenhead's Ardbeg 21 Year Old Review

Cadenhead’s 1991 Ardbeg 21 Year Old is one I’ve read about and never thought I’d get to try till a very generous friend offered me a sample for Ardbeg April and boy howdy am I glad he did. This is one heck of a dram and if it weren’t going for crazy numbers when it shows up in auction every now and then I’d be bidding on a bottle.

If you’re not familiar with them, Cadenhead’s is an independent bottler (NDP if you will) in Scotland who was established in 1842 and currently holds the title of “the oldest independent bottler of spirits” in the world. They’re known for getting access to, and picking, incredible barrels of whisky. Some of their old “dumpy bottles” of things like Ardbeg go for hundreds – thousands of dollars at auction. They’re one of the brands you can rely on to almost always have quality whisky in their bottles.

Cadenhead’s 1991 Ardbeg 21 Year Old Info

Region: Islay

Distiller: Ardbeg
Bottler: Cadenhead’s
Age: 21 years
ABV: 44.7%
Mashbill: 100% Malted barley
Cask: ex-Bourbon

Non-Chill Filtered
Natural Color
Cask Strength

Distilled: 1991
Bottled: 2012

Price: $250+

Cadenhead’s 1991 Ardbeg 21 Year Old Review

EYE
Light honey

NOSE
Overripe fruit, salt water taffy, peat and citrus with a nice spice and a soft warm woody character. Some great aromas of saline, caramel, baklava, and a light herbalness also appear at intervals making it a delicate and nuanced nose that is a sheer pleasure to sniff.

PALATE
Apple heavy orchard fruit, salt water taffy, spice and peat kick things off with lighter notes of toast, malty sweetness, leather, mint, goji berries a bit of dark woodiness and a light herbalness showing up along the way. Delicate, multi-faceted and delicious. I’m loving the way this one tastes.

FINISH
Long and sweetly fruity with notes of graham, peat, spice, ash and wood.

BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
Soft harmonic balance, round smooth body and a slick easy texture.

OVERALL
The Cadenhead’s 1991 Ardbeg 21 Year Old is awesome. I’m seriously loving everything about this whisky. At 21 years the highly peated quality of the Ardbeg peat has been tamed but the matured spirit has allowed more of it’s rich fruity and spicy nature to come out and shine while still retaining much of that character we’ve come to know and love about Ardbeg. It’s an awesome whisky.

SCORE: 92/100

Cadenhead’s 1991 Ardbeg 21 Year Old Review - Score Breakdown
  • Nose - 92
  • Palate - 93
  • Finish - 92
  • Balance, Body & Feel - 92

Value

You can find the Cadenhead’s 1991 Ardbeg 21 Year Old floating around on auction sites and I see most going for $250+ which doesn’t sound like much, but after hammer fee, processing fee and shipping from the UK it ends up being more like $350+ and that’s a tough pill to swallow.

Josh Peters
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Josh Peters

I read about, think about, write about, and drink whisk(e)y. In short, it's my passion.
Josh Peters
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