My tasting today consists of a whisky from a friend’s collection. No doubt the only thing better than drinking whisky is drinking someone else’s whisky!
Ardbeg was a distillery left for dead, revived only in 1997 by Glenmorangie. It was able to release its first 10 year old in 2008 and therefore has a limited age selection in its offerings. However, it has several non-age description bottlings and a few 10 year olds that are varieties in the theme of peaty, smoky, rich, and full bodied whiskies. Especially the peat, this is a distillery that prises itself on its Islay heritage. The result of the distillery’s hard work in restarting production of this famed whisky is an award winning product that is appreciated by experts and beginners alike.
What we have here is a whisky at 46% alcohol by volume of a light gold colour. The legs run somewhat thick at a medium speed.
On the nose, we get a light peaty frangrance but less smoke than I imagined. It also smells quite sweet. It’s a delicious mix of the two, but surprisingly my impression is that this is more sweet than peat.
On the palate, the peat comes through with some smoke, it burns, pleasantly. Some fruity sweetness to it as well, but the peat is stronger on the palate than it was on the nose.
The finish is long and smoky. Quite nice, would compliment a cigar very well I imagine.
With a few drops of water, the nose retains its sweet and light peaty qualities, however the palate becomes more smooth and the whisky burns less. The sweetness in the flavour is enhanced and makes for a richer experience. I also taste nut, maybe some cocoa at this point with hints of milk chocolate. Some hints of wood appear towards the end of a peaty, lingering finish.
Overall, this is a very good whisky, probably an excellent whisky that requires a second tasting to further explore its potential and full range. Though it’s only a 10 year old, it is as good as most older whiskies aged well beyond 12 years. I will be hitting up my fellow whisky drinker for another shot at this one.