Nose: this baby's actually not perfectly comparable to the 1990, the styles are extremely different. This one's much cleaner, less peaty on the nose and much more on vanilla and yellow fruits such as peaches and mirabelles - at least at first nosing. More smoke (bonfire) and eucalyptus do come through after two or three minutes, though, together with some pinesap and a little antiseptic, as well as my beloved gentian (earth, roots, more antiseptic). There's even something a little vinegary, but that would be high quality balsamico, of course ;-). Fresh walnuts and almonds plus cider apples. It's a complex nose for sure, it keeps changing while remaining rather gentle. As far as the noses are concerned, I'd say it's more or less a tie.
Mouth: a rather soft and smooth arrival with even a little pear liqueur and mild acacia honey, but it would then steadily accelerate, just like an old muscle car. This one's for Tarantino! Pepper, quinces, kippers, plum pie, quinine, lime, cough medicine and then more earthy touches that start to dance the tango with the limes and lemons. A great (and expensive) margarita. Finish: long, ultra-clean and zesty. Limes, smoke, seashells and the usual salty tang in the aftertaste.
Comments: there's no denying that this is a great Ardbeg, of the 'ultra-clean' variety that's not exactly what we could find in the 1970s - or in the late 1990s-early 2000s. But remember these batches were made by the Laphroaig people! ;-). So, yeah, I think this one's pretty much unbashable - not saying that the price is right, of course!