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Ardbeg 10 Year Old

Ardbeg 10 . . . Ahhhhhh!

5 2590

@RianCReview by @RianC

14th Oct 2017

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  • Nose
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  • Taste
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  • Finish
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  • Balance
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  • Overall
    90

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

Just to be clear from the offset - I can't pretend to not have a deep, almost scared, affinity with this whisky so I will try extra hard to be objective and provide clarity of my experience.

This was the first ever alcoholic drink that made me grin ear to ear after a sip (well my 2nd sip to be precise - the first being one of confusion, intrigue and a general sense of 'wtf' have I just bought here?!) It even led to what I believe can be called 'peat flashbacks' the next day out playing golf in the midst of winter. A very welcome intrusion it must be said.

Onto the liquor:

On the nose it's an instant hit of coastal peat. Minerality comes through with sea shells, oysters, TCP, drift wood beach bonfires and slight oily smoked fish notes. There's also a citrus fruitiness and an ever so light touch of damp, musty dried fruit that I'm noticing more this time around. Chocolate lime sweets. Wonderful.

Taste wise; those chocolate limes really come out for me here. Oily but not overly thick mouth feel that develops into a beautifully sweet fennel, licorice note. Sweet arrival but becomes more sour. Reminds me of tequila. I find I have this neat or if the mood takes me with a few drops of water. Less peaty with water and more citrus sweetness comes out. Perhaps more rounded as well?

Finish is long and I find as the bottle goes down more smoke comes out here, to the point where I can pretend I'm a dragon breathing fire after a sip. Slight tannins but very pleasantly so. A sour note is there.

This whisky takes me back to holidays on the west coast of Scotland as a kid -but you could be anywhere on the west coast of Britain and get the same sensations, imo. It's so well made and I would like to say an available and affordable (mostly) craft whisky but the prices here have gone up a lot in the last couple of years alone. Still, not bad value at all and a must have for any whisky fan to have at least tried.

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25 comments

@jeanluc
jeanluc commented

Absolutely spot on @RianC, very evocative tasting notes!

10 months ago 1Who liked this?

@OdysseusUnbound
OdysseusUnbound commented

Nice review. This is one of the best “standard” or “entry-level” (I hate those words in the context that most people use them) whiskies on the market, imho. You definitely nailed it when you said it’s one of those malts which can make you smile ear to ear. Spot on.

10 months ago 1Who liked this?

@RianC
RianC commented

Thanks, Gents :) It definitely sets my bar for peated whisky, or just whisky in general - It's a belter!

10 months ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@RianC, thank you for your nice review. May we have the bottling date code, please? i.e. faint white numbers printed on the back bottom of the bottle, e.g.16/11/2015. There is such a lot of difference in batches of all whisky, and in particular of heavily peated whiskies, that many of us will or would do ten different reviews for ten different batches of the "same" named whisky. Many of us want to know exactly which Ardbeg Ten it is which you are reviewing. This is mostly for reference with respect to potential future bottle purchases. I can tell you that I've seen a lot of variation from one batch of Ardbeg anything to the next. Some are top flight; others are best to be avoided.

10 months ago 1Who liked this?

@Victor
Victor commented

Note to @OdysseusUnbound, I see nothing whatsoever wrong with referring to a whisk(e)y as "standard", since very often there is one and only one large-circulation product by that product's name. For me "standard" in and of itself carries absolutely no negative connotations.

"Entry-level" on the other hand is a term which I eschew and consider to be completely condescending both to the whisky in question and to those who may choose to drink it. I've seen a few 'noobies' whose "entry-level" whisky was Ardbeg Uigeadail. As far as I am concerned there is no such thing as "entry-level" with respect to whiskies.

10 months ago 4Who liked this?

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge commented

@RianC, A very nice review. Welcome to Connosr. I have a hunch that we will be seeing a lot more from you ... looking forward to it.

10 months ago 1Who liked this?

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge commented

@Victor, I've previously expressed my prejudice towards the term "entry level" (often interchangeable with less expensive). I prefer to be "introduced" to a distillery, its flavour profile, standard offering(s), and its character in general, be that the "standard" offering or something considered to be enriched or (often more expensive) super-premium. I will decide where my entry level will be, not someone else and their notion of universal frugality amongst entry level single malt snobs...

10 months ago 2Who liked this?

@RianC
RianC commented

@Victor Many thanks! yes of course, I will endeavor to add such details from now on.

Spookily, it's 3 days older than the random date you gave above - 19/11/2015 :)

It's my second bought bottle but have tried several over the last few years. I have heard of some less than tip top batches but seem to have been lucky as they've all been stand outs.

10 months ago 1Who liked this?

@RianC
RianC commented

@paddockjudge - Many thanks! I may just add a third review for the day and do a hatrick with the 105 ;)

10 months ago 0

@OdysseusUnbound
OdysseusUnbound commented

@Victor I agree that standard doesn’t have to be condescending, it just often is used in that context. For example:

“I can’t abide standard bottlings Of Caol Ila, but the Gordon & MacPhail bottlings are so much better at showcasing the quality of their distillate.”

Again, the aforementioned isn’t snobbish in and of itself, but it’s often presented that way. I belong to a scotch group on Facebook wherein a significant sub-section of members worship anything expensive. It’s ridiculous. Price doesn’t always correlate positively with quality. But I’m sure my fellow Connosr-ites know that.

10 months ago 2Who liked this?

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

I agree that the language like "standard" and "entry level" can mean different things to different people.

Is HP 12 entry level? A'Bunadh? Springbank 12 CS? Those and other bruisers are what I cut my whisky teeth on.

I prefer to look at it from the point of view of what is in the bottle and who will like it. The I introduce people to whisky and they are wary of peat, I start with some Canadians (like 90/20) and maybe Redbreast 12 CS with a little extra water and small sips. I don't carry much "entry level" stuff....

10 months ago 2Who liked this?

@Victor
Victor commented

@RianC, the date was not random, but of a bottling which I have reviewed. That bottling didn't start out at all well, to my mind, but has improved quite a bit with open bottle air exposure. 16/11/2015 is one I would use as an example of a bad bottling, actually. 17 months of the bottle open later that bottle is not bad at all, but is not one of the superstar batches, like, say, L 10 152 (old system of bottling codes which were changed about late 2014= 152nd day of 2010= June 1, 2010, IIRC).

Actually, I think that you can sometimes get significant variation among bottles bottled even on the same day, though that would not be common.

10 months ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@Nozinan, that's cool that you are introducing new folks to Canadian whisky via Highwood Ninety 20 yo, but you had better tell them to hustle out and get themselves a few bottles of it now if they like it, because that 20 yo whisky isn't likely to be around indefinitely.

@OdysseusUnbound, I make a point of not associating with any snooty whisky types, of the sort which you describe.

10 months ago 1Who liked this?

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

@Victor I thought I was a whisky snob. You associate with me...

A new Highwood 90/20 was released with a white label. It seems plentiful and I hear from a reliable source that it may be as good or better than the brown label...

10 months ago 0

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge commented

@OdysseusUnbound, I hadn't given much thought to the matter, but we are all just a bunch of 'ites here on Connosr, aren't we?

10 months ago 1Who liked this?

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge commented

@Nozinan, Highwood Ninety, no two ways about it. The white label surpasses the burgundy label by a couple of points. I wish I had a barrel of this stuff.

10 months ago 0

@Frost
Frost commented

@RianC great review. This is one of the malts that got me hooked on a peat obsession for years.

10 months ago 2Who liked this?

@BlueNote
BlueNote commented

@Frost Me too. It's the one that finally turned me onto peat about 10 years ago. Spot on review @RianC.

10 months ago 2Who liked this?

@BlueNote
BlueNote commented

BTW @RianC Is that a "scared affinity" you have for Ardbeg or a sacred affinity? Nothing to be scared of there is there? wink

10 months ago 1Who liked this?

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

@BlueNote I don't know....Ardbeg 10 can be very intimidating...

10 months ago 0

@RianC
RianC commented

@BlueNote ha . . . thought no-one had noticed! Sacred! ;)

10 months ago 1Who liked this?

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

You can edit your text for about an hour after posting the review... I always find something wrong with mine...

10 months ago 2Who liked this?

@RianC
RianC commented

@Nozinan - Worryingly, I think I did . . . ha!

10 months ago 0

@MadSingleMalt
MadSingleMalt commented

Excellent whisky. Excellent value. Excellent bonus points for breathing like a dragon.

In my mind, this is the whisky for peat-heads to stock alongside Laphroaig 10 CS. Ardbeg for when you want something zippier, Laphroaig for when you want something heavier.

10 months ago 2Who liked this?

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