Ardbeg Smoketrails Côte Rôtie takes inspiration from South of France

By Kristiane Sherry |

Ardbeg Smoketrails makes use of ex-Côte Rôtie wine casks.

Ardbeg Smoketrails makes use of ex-Côte Rôtie wine casks.

Moët Hennessy-owned single malt Scotch brand Ardbeg has used red wine barrels from the Rhône region in France for its latest travel retail release, Ardbeg Smoketrails Côte Rôtie Edition.

The second release in the Smoketrails series, the Islay whisky expression makes use of Côte Rôtie red wine casks. They are said to impart minerality, earthy aromas and spicy notes. 

Fully matured liquid has been married with whisky from ex-bourbon barrels for a “punchy” and “full-bodied” spirit. 

Released in a 1-litre format, the Smoketrails series aims to explore the influence that different casks from around the world have on Ardbeg’s signature smoky style.

The inaugural bottling in the range made use of Manzanilla sherry casks from Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Spain.

Ardbeg Smoketrails Côte Rôtie: An ‘exquisite’ bottling

“Bottled at 46% ABV, this single malt is vibrant and peppery,” said Bill Lumsden, Ardbeg’s Director of Distilling and Whisky Creation. 

“Notes of tar and peppermint soar alongside a subtle fruitiness in smoked cranberry and blackcurrant

“Dark chocolate and fondant cream emerges before departing, followed by a lingering smoky finish with crispy bacon rinds and woodsmoke.

“This is a truly exquisite bottling, which I hope travelling Ardbeggians will make some space in their suitcases for.”

Ardbeg Smoketrails Côte Rôtie launches in key UK airports from October 2023, followed by select European locations. 

The whisky will be available in GTR locations in the US and Asia from early 2024. A limited number of bottles are also available from the Islay distillery. 

Parent company LVMH recently released “strong” third quarter results, although sales at its Wine & Spirits division fell 7% over the nine months to 30 September. LVMH said this was against a high basis of comparison in 2022.

Meanwhile, sales at its Selective Retailing division, which includes travel retailer DFS Group, soared 26% over the period.


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