Chieftains 1998 Ardbeg 12 Year Old Review

Chieftain's 1998 Ardbeg 12 Year Old Review

The Chieftains 1998 Ardbeg 12 Year Old is a single cask, cask strength bottling of a 12 year old Ardbeg that was aged in a 2nd re-fill sherry cask. I didn’t get much sherry out of it, but there were some dark fruity notes that can often come from that kind of a cask. No big heavy sherry notes here, just a nice bit of sweetness.

As I’m trying all of these 3rd party bottlings of Ardbeg now for Ardbeg April, I can’t help but realize something incredibly interesting about them. Which is that they are almost never as good as what Ardbeg bottles on their own. This is the complete opposite experience I have with Bowmore. I dislike most of the Bowmore core range, but love so many of the single casks I try from independent bottlers. Makes me think that Ardbeg is keeping the cherry barrels for themselves, while Bowmore is letting theirs roll out the door.

Chieftains 1998 Ardbeg 12 Year Old Review

Distiller: Ardbeg
Age: 12 years
ABV: 56%
Price: $150+

Non-Chill Filtered
Natural Color
Cask Strength

Cask: 1797
Distilled: June 1998
Bottled: October 2010

Apple juice

Peat, tropical and orchard fruit, toffee, honey and spice. It’s a nice aroma that picks up some added complexity from some light notes of saline and cherry pie.

Peat, muddled fruit, vanilla frosting and a spicy herbalness glide across the palate followed by some light notes of wood and a tart creamy citrus.

Medium fade of peat, smoked fruit and smoked meat that ends in a sweet and lightly woody.

Nose is light compared to the palate but nothing is throwing this too far off balance. Medium body with a warm silken texture.

Chieftains 1998 Ardbeg 12 Year Old is an ok whisky. I definitely don’t hate it, far from it, but it wasn’t the best selection. It’s missing some of that signature Ardbeg warmth, character and depth that I love and it ends up feeling a tad cold and shallow. Still, it’s far from horrible, so cheers to that!

SCORE: 85/100

Chieftains 1998 Ardbeg 12 Year Old Review
  • Nose - 86
  • Palate - 85
  • Finish - 85
  • Balance, Body & Feel - 84


When you could pick up the Chieftains 1998 Ardbeg 12 Year Old for around $70 it wasn’t a horrific deal, but at the 2x price it’s not fetching I’d leave it and opt for a bottle of something else.

Josh Peters

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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One Response to Chieftains 1998 Ardbeg 12 Year Old Review

  1. […] SMWS 33.113 Sweet, peaceful dreams is an appropriate name for this whisky. It feels light, but still manages to come on strong. It’s more subtle and while it has a different character than the Ardbeg Still Young (also a cask strength 8 year old) it doesn’t loose that essential X factor that marks something as an Ardbeg. I honestly can’t tell you what that X factor is, beyond being a warm deep character, but I can tell you I definitely notice when it’s gone. […]

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