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Ardbeg 10 Year Old

Taste Comparison with Caol Ila 12

1 383

RReview by @Rigmorole

29th Jan 2013


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

Caol Ila was more peppery and a bit more cantankerous in a good way. Quite a few similarities. Both drams had their own strengths.

I must say that the creosote-like hints in Ardbeg were not ideal. There is a taste that reminds me of diesel fumes and creosote. It's faint but there.

The Ardbeg had a wide variety of flavors, perhaps wider than the Caol Ila, and I liked the hose on the Ardbeg more for sure. Even though Caol Ila is created right by the water, Ardbeg did remind me of the sea quite a bit more, which is nice. A little seaweed and ocean brine crept in there, which I did not detect as much in the Caol Ila.

I had a glass of both up on the bar and gave them a thorough comparison.

Caol Ila 12 wins at 88 points. Two more than the Ardbeg 10. Both are delicious but the creosote and diesel hints in the Ardbeg palette just don't quite work for me. Despite this short-coming, I still liked it a great deal, however, despite the "industrial" aspect to it, which the Caol Ila did not have.

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Rigmorole commented

Nose, not "hose"! Argh. I hate typos.

10 years ago 1Who liked this?

Rigmorole commented

The peat in the Ardbeg also had a taste like the smell of lawn clippings for the first fifteen minutes in the glass. It went away after that, but the hint of lawn clippings was not terribly enjoyable at first.

The peat used in Caol Ila is obviously different. It's more peppery like a beach bonfire, clean and natural, rather than the Ardbeg which caused me to think of a ferry landing in The Puget Sound with brine and creosote and diesel and some nice notes of smoldering peat as well.

Ardbeg 10 also had the usual briquette type barbecue smoke flavor that most Ardbegs feature, but the strength of this sort of smoke was definitely dialed down when compared with other Ardbegs that I've tasted, especially the Alligator. Anyhow, just my three cents. . . . Of course, I've tasted Ardbeg 10 many times in the past, but I've never owned a bottle and I've never compared it to the Caol Ila, glass to glass, before.

10 years ago 0

PeatyZealot commented

Quite different characters these two. To me, Caol Ila 12 is the more dreamy creamy green young, fresh kind, while Ardbeg is the more serious in your face peat/smoke motoroil. Both lovely in their own way, but in Holland Caol Ila is a lot cheaper :)

10 years ago 0

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