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Ardbeg 10 Year Old

Whisky and Chocolate: Ardbeg 10 yr

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@SquidgyAshReview by @SquidgyAsh

17th Jun 2012


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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My wife and I had gone to Helvetica for a series of whisky and chocolate tastings and we'd finally progressed to the last pairing of the night.

Now this last whisky to be tasted with a chocolate was a whisky that most people would likely think wouldn't be a good whisky for it. I know I was semi skeptical.

That whisky was Ardbeg.

Specifically Ardbeg 10 yr old.

Now I'd had quite a few different expressions of Ardbeg over the last year or so, but I'd yet to try the 10 yr old so I was pretty curious.

I was even more curious how well it would pair up with the chocolate.

Especially considering that the chocolate was to be malt balls or malteses as I believe they're known in the land down under.

For the record I REALLY don't like malt balls.

Like REALLY don't like.

But first off, let's see this whisky that has everyone talking!

So I take the tasting glass and start to nose around and the very first thing that hits me is peat, lots of peat and smoke, almost bonfire type smoke, but at no point does it kill the nose for me, rather it almost enhances the other aromas coming from my glass.

Underneath the smoke and peat is a sweetness. Smells a bit like pears and pineapples, vanilla, possibly a bit of apple in there, and along with this lovely sweetness is the always present aroma of burnt band aids and iodine.

A very awesome nose that instantly takes me the isle of Islay and Ardbeg!

I decide to finally take my first sip of Ardbeg 10 yr old. Now I've tried quite a few Ardbegs before, Renaissance, Corryvreckan, Uigeadail and the mythical Lord of the Isles.

So I had a fair idea of what to expect flavor wise and I wasn't disappointed!

The smoke, peat, iodine are all immediately evident in the mouth, but underneath all of that the pears say hello to everyone in the room to. A very very yummy whisky!

Pepper appears in the mouth with a small bit of kick and spice, but not unpleasantly so.

The finish is long with a smokey flavor and a bit of pepper giving you a kick in the face as it goes down.

Quite yum as I have said before!

But as much as I love my whisky, the point of this entire visit is to try the pairing of whisky and chocolate.

Now the little page we're given when we arrived said that the malt in the chocolate that we're trying with this whisky, the malt balls.

Now I take a sip of the Ardbeg and take a cautious bite of the malt balls.

And the flavors EXPLODE in my mouth! It's this lovely perfect combination that does indeed bring out the malt inside the whisky and the malt balls in a way that enhances the best flavors of the whisky and the chocolate.

The only way I can describe it is brilliant.

Absolutely brilliant!

Now the tasting notes we were given suggests cracking the malt balls open and sucking the Ardbeg through it.

My wife does this after having just tried the malt balls and whisky together and says that this way of drinking the whisky is even better.

She actually describes it as lovely.

This is coming from someone who while will try smokey and peaty whiskies, will not drink them again once she has tried it.

I attempt to do this, but I seem to be having some problems.

This is probably due to the fact that I'm a bit of a troll and an utter klutz with anything non animal related.

Damn it!

I try and try to manage this cracking of the malt balls and drinking the Ardbeg through it, but sadly I have no success.

Doesn't matter.

Brilliant pairing!

Even better is that Ardbeg 10 yr old is an easily accessible whisky over here in Australia and retails for anywhere from $85 to $110 dollars!

Not too bad!

Now this was supposed to be the end of the night, but not for us!

We aren't able to get out here often enough and I'd love to try the new Ardbeg Day whisky and I haven't tried my George T Stagg so we shall be a little while longer!

As before the whisky review score can be found down below while the chocolate and whisky pairing score is found right here.

Ardbeg 10 yr old and Malt Balls 94/100

Related Ardbeg reviews


SlowPuffs commented

SquidgyAsh, I shutter when I think of drinking whisky with chocolate, especially Ardbeg, but your review is making it tempting...

7 years ago 0

SquidgyAsh commented

:D I've always thought that some whiskies would go perfect with chocolate, actually just bought of an Australian Whisky: Limeburners, that would. But as I said I was semi skeptical about the Ardbeg combination. I was very happy to be proven wrong though :D

7 years ago 0

Wills commented

Hey Ash, nice review. You make me tempting to try this chocolate pairing too ;)

I had to google those malt balls and I guess I already ate them, but without whisky. Sounds really really nice but I dont understand how you should suck the whisky through it? Take the malt ball between the teeth and sip the whisky? Or just mix it in the mouth?

Nonetheless it sounds really great, which other whiskys you can recommend for this experiment?

7 years ago 0

SquidgyAsh commented

Hahaha Thanks Wills!

It's a pretty good pairing and I would have never thought of it! I was rather surprised especially because I don't care for that kind of chocolate at all. But was bloody good.

I think what you're supposed to do is crack open the malt ball and then drink the whisky as it runs through the center of the chocolate. I wasn't able to do this, but my wife could!!

I strongly suspect that Ardbeg Corryvrackin and Ardbeg Uegidail would go well with this. Not sure what other ones would, but it'll be fun to experiment!

7 years ago 0

NilsG commented

What would you say about Ardberg 10 with Timtams! I love chocolate with whisky, and this sucking whisky through chocolate sound perfect for Timtams.

Off the whisky topic, what kind of animals are you not being a klutz with?

Lovely review by the way!

7 years ago 0

SquidgyAsh commented

Mmmm NilsG I think Timtams and Ardbeg 10 would work wonderfully together!!

I started out as a dog trainer, but then horses, cats, birds, kangaroos, dingos, koalas, wombats, snow leopards, etc etc etc :D

However I sadly no longer worth animals (for the time being) as I'm REALLY frusterated with the way a lot of businesses treat animals in Perth. I sell beer for the time being.

Thanks for the compliment btw!

7 years ago 0

NilsG commented

Haven't you seen how Perthians treat beer?!

No seriously, that is a perfect excuse to quit what seems to be an amazing job. I went to Australia to study the animals myself...and for the Bundaberg rum.

Back to whisky: I'm definitely getting a bottle of Ard10 and Timtams, I think they have both at my local supermarket.

7 years ago 0

NilsG commented

...wait...snow leopards?!?!

7 years ago 0

SquidgyAsh commented

Hahaha yes, in the US. And yes many Perthians abuse beer :D Somehow I can suffer through my day better with that then the other.

7 years ago 0

NilsG commented

Having Ardbeg 10 with chocolate right now, and it's fantastic! They didn't have Tim tams tho so I'm stealing some stuff my kid had in the fridge instead (it's ok, I'll share the whisky with him to be fair).

7 years ago 0

SquidgyAsh commented

Hahaha your kid is a lucky kid! Glad you're enjoying the combination my friend!!

7 years ago 0

teebone673 commented

I enjoyed this exact combination tonight. I went with a dark, intense chocolate. Perfect with the Ardbeg 10.

7 years ago 0

SquidgyAsh commented

:D Glad you enjoyed it! This was definitely my favorite chocolate/whisky pairing of the tasting we did that night. Aberlour Abunadh had A LOT of promise, but I personally believe that the wrong chocolate was chosen to accompany it.

7 years ago 0

maltygirl commented

Wow... Just tried malt balls (actually something called Whoppers'The Original Malted Milk Balls') with the Arcbeg10. Amazing! Would have never thought to pair this chocolate with this particular whisky. I'm a big fan of pairing chocolate with whisky if the mood strikes you...why just have one indulgence when you can have two at the same time.

7 years ago 0

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