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Ardbeg 10 Year Old

A lot of just one thing.

0 585

@hunggarReview by @hunggar

26th Mar 2013


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

Since this is one of the most reviewed whiskies around, I don't need any technical details to accompany this review, so I'll just jump right in.

Nose: Smoke, citrus, salt and some wisps of vanilla. Campfire doesn't really apply to the nose in my opinion. It seems closer to an industrial smokestack than anything else. Intense, peaty.

Palate: The smoke on the palate is closer to a campfire than the industrial smoke from the nose would suggest. Very medicinal. A little bit of sweet honey.

Finish: Smoke. Ash. Long, intense smoke.

I'm disappointed. This whisky is so beloved by so many. It's intense, yes. But it's not complex. There's more complexity in the similarly priced Laphroaig QC, the Laddie 10, the Talisker 10, and even the lesser Bowmores.

I haven't tried much from Ardbeg. And, no, I haven't tried the Uigeadail. And, yes, I'd love to give it a shot. But this is just a blast of smoke without a lot else going on. There are some lesser notes here, but not many. The ones that are seem so overwhelmed by the smoke that they're almost imperceptible. It's balanced and smooth, but it's just too damn simple. Not bad, but not something I'll be buying again despite the reasonable price. Then again, if you're a peathead who isn't in the mood for contemplation and you want a straight-forward daily dram, this is for you.

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michaelschout commented

Maybe it's not the most complex, but there are few whiskies that really do peat this well.

10 years ago 0

YakLord commented

I agree, @Hunggar: all smoke and very little else. I actually rated this lower than you did. For complex peat and/or smoke I usually look to the Peat Monster, Laphroaig QC, or Lagavulin 16.

10 years ago 0

hunggar commented

Heh I figured this one would be a bit controversial. I do like it. If you're into peat then it's worth the price. While it's not a favorite, it's a solid choice. Personally I like peat/smoke as an element of a whisky, but not the entire thing. But if you want smokey dominance, you get it here. It's a very straight-forward, balls-to-the-wall peaty blast, so I suppose you have to respect it as the beast that it is.

10 years ago 0

teebone673 commented

Good honest review. I tend to agree with your assessment. Still, if you're looking for straight peat and smoke this is a good way to go, especially for the price. As far as Islay whiskies go, I Iike this more than Laphroaig, but not quite as much as Lagavulin or Caol Ila. Thanks for the review.

10 years ago 0

Pudge72 commented

I have only had the chance to drink this on some occasions at my local pub where it's a regular bottle on the bar. The first time I ordered it, my wife and I both smelled the smoke from several feet away. The comment from my wife was that it smelled like a house was on fire. It is definitely a different smoke than the Lagavulin 16 (my reference point for 'campfire in a glass' aromas). In Ontario, A10 is $100 while the L16 is $115. For the extra $15 I would buy the L16 nine out of ten times (slight hesitation as a 2012 bottle of L16 that @WhiskyJoe has does not match up in quality to my bottle from 2011). This is not because the Ardbeg is bad...far from it. Like you, I find it just does not have the complexity of the Lagavulin.

I would not hesitate to get the Ardbeg on a trip to the US, for the $50-$55 it sells for there.

10 years ago 0

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