Ardbeg 1973 15 Years Sestante ABV 43%


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An independent bottling of 15 year old Ardbeg, distilled in 1973 when the onsite maltings were still in use. This was released in the late 1980s by Sestante.


Ardbeg 1973 15 Years Sestante (ABV 43%)

Colour: gold. Nose: rather mellow and kind of appeased, starting more on kumquats and soot than on wild peat. A lot of various herbal teas as well, such as chamomile, thyme tea, rosemary and garlic tea (good for our heart) and then whiffs of wet fabric, old books, dusty street under the first rain and tapioca flour (which is quite odourless but not totally so). Gets finally much more medicinal, with whiffs of antiseptic and camphor that are usually rather to be found in a neighbouring malt whisky. And fresh almonds. Mouth: smooth, very lightly peated and unusually honeyed for an Ardbeg. Very strange, but very pleasant development on buttered croissants, caramel crème, kumquats, mint-flavoured nougats and, well, plain mint (and mint liqueur such as Ricqlès – dunno if you know that one). Pretty excellent but you have to like mint. Finish: medium long, even more mentholated. Incredible! Comments: a very unusual lightly peated Ardbeg, maybe not too big on the nose but perfect on the palate, all on mint. Now, we all know that peat can lose its taste in whisky over the years. SGP:363 (yes, 3 is very low for an Ardbeg) - 90 points.

Ardbeg 1973 15 Years Sestante (ABV 53.4%)

We’re having the ‘clear glass’ version aside for due comparison - we already assessed the latter and liked it a lot (92). Colour: gold. Nose: extremely unusual, close to the ‘clear glass’ as far as the profile is concerned but this one is more aromatic. Very big notes of rosemary and thyme, cumin, seawater, antiseptic, smoked tea, spearmint and chamomile, without much peat. Then very huge notes of crushed cloves, then white bread, then oysters and finally quite some menthol again… More oomph than the ‘clear glass’ version. I know, this is quite useless but with this crisis, these old bottling might well reappear at auctions and, above all, become affordable again. Mouth: exceptional attack, smooth and firm at the same time, wonderfully almondy and mentholated. Very, very old almond liqueur (old amaretto), genuine salted ‘farmy’ butter (not the tasteless crap that one can find in most supermarkets – at least in France), walnut liqueur, herbal liqueur (maybe something like Underberg, which I had only once but that I’ll remember forever!), honeydew… Oh well, all I know is that this is superb whisky, probably less peaty and more complex than more recent Ardbegs. Finish: long, more almondy and minty. It’s wonderful! Superb salty signature. Comments: the green glass is a tad more aromatic on the nose and more ‘evolved’ on the palate, whilst the clear glass version is straighter Ardbeg. Which one is the best? Hard to say… If you love Ardbeg, you may prefer the ‘clear glass’ version if you ever see both for the same prices. But just between us, very little people know that both versions just don’t taste the same. At all. SGP:455 (the clear glass is more like 356) - 92 points.


Distillery Ardbeg
Classification Single Malt Whisky
Bottle No./Released -/-
Vintage 1973
Age 15
Bottler Sestante
Bottling Date 1988
ABV/ Volume -/ 75cl
Rating/SGP -/-
Cask Number -


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