Side by Side: Comparing the Ardbeg Kelpie General Release and the Kelpie Committee Release

Last year, the Darkcove General Release really won our hearts, so with Ardbeg continuing to roll out the General Release (“GR”) and Committee Release (“CR”) for the Kelpie, it’s natural to repeat this question – which is better?

Nose (CR):

Seaweed, but also a rich toffee note, chocolate milk, salty but surprisingly the peat comes across as being modest with a herbal reinterpretation, the smoked bacon and cod notes slowly emitting.

Palate & Finish (CR):

Toffee with a hint of brightness from the plump fruits; coffee ground, Chinese medicine, mushed chestnuts, burnt salted butter and milk chocolate all mixed in a pot.  The peat has been exaggerated but at the same time it still feels quite finely toned.

The finish is gritty and grainy with the peat smoke sticking on, burnt buttered toast.


Nose (GR):

Crisp, sea salt rubbed on ripe pears, the fruitiness jumps out but runs parallel with the savoury influence.  Smoke and seaweed oozing out from underneath the crispness.

Palate & Finish (GR):

The robust peatiness sets a savoury tone, crushed salt getting drizzled all over the barbecue grill, but not enough to hide the attractiveness of the orchard fruits.  The toffee is in place but as a secondary act.

Much more of a balanced approach in the finish, the peat is not overwhelming, and fares well with notes of seaweed and coffee ground.

Thoughts:

The CR feels somewhat forced and manufactured with the peat getting exaggerated.  In comparison, the GR feels more natural, more complete, better curated; focusing on overall structure without losing its plot over trivial things.

Kelpie Committee Release

[51.7%・NAS・Official Bottling・Limited Release]

Kelpie General Release ✓

[46.0%・NAS・Official Bottling・Limited Release]

-Nicholas