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Ardbeg 10 Year Old

Re-review

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@hunggarReview by @hunggar

21st Aug 2014

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  • Overall
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I'm in the midst of building my own blog right now. In doing so, I'm using a lot of old reviews. Going back, I've realized how much my tastes and opinions have changed over the past two years of reviewing. Some of my old reviews are, umm, embarrassing. But since we can't change the old ones here, I think a few re-reviews will be coming down the pipes. Here's a much needed update on the Ten.

This is my fourth bottle of the Ten. I didn't like my first bottle much, but times have changed. I love it now, and it’s one of a handful of whiskies that you’ll always find in my cabinet. One of the best value-for-money offerings from Islay these days.

Nose: Lemon cough drops, pears, brine, sea air, and big, smoky peat. The peat is crisp, clean, and has an industrial tinge to it. Oak isn’t obvious, but it’s in there.

Palate: Light bodied, with a paced arrival. A strong mineral flavour accompanies the industrial peat. Lemon cough drops, tarmac, and menthol.

Finish: It gets sweeter as honey makes an appearance. We move on to camphor, seawater, menthol, minerals, earth, and peat. Faint hints of chocolate, menthol, pine, and metal linger. Medium-long.

It’s time to revise that first impression, this is damn good. Crisp, clean, industrial-style peat is what Ardbeg does best. If you want casual peat fix, I’d take this over most entry-level Islay offerings. Also, this is a good year-round whisky. Big, bold flavours will warm your bones in winter, and a light body with clean flavours will suit you just fine in summer. Big, balanced, and satisfying. Easily a cabinet mainstay.

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5 comments

@teebone673
teebone673 commented

Great review. I may have to revisit this. I did a review a while back. I thought it was pretty good, but I remember liking Laphroaig 10 and Caol Ila 12 much more. For some reason when it comes to me and Islay, Ardbeg always finishes behind Lagavulin, Laphroaig and Caol Ila. The funny thing is, that only makes me want to try Arbeg again and re-examine. Thanks for the review.

4 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

Batches of peaty/smokey malts vary quite a lot also, as @Nock has been documenting. At this point I don't feel like I can even have an opinion about an Ardbeg being reviewed unless I have drunk from that same exact batch of that same whisky as has the reviewer. From which batch did this bottle originate, and was it the same bottle or batch as you reviewed in March 2013? Also, has this bottle been open for 2 years? It can change things a lot if the bottle is long opened, though typically not as much for an intensely smokey/peaty malt as for other whiskies.

4 years ago 0

@hunggar
hunggar commented

@teebone673: Definitely worth revisiting. My snap judgment on this whisky definitely steered me in the wrong direction. What was once disliked has now become a favorite. A testament to the volatility of taste, I guess.

@Victor: I both agree and disagree. Yes, no two malts or bottles are the same. But some releases are dynamic while others are generally consistent. For any Corry or Oogie review, I'd stress the importance of batch, year, and time open. But the Ten is by far the most consistent Ardbeg, and I'll freely admit that it's my palate that's to blame for my initial disinterest in this. I just hadn't gotten to know it yet. But now that I have, I've noticed that the differences between Tens, if detectable at all, are slight. Not so for the other Ardbegs. Inconsistency isn’t consistent, and some releases are much more reliable and stable than others.

4 years ago 0

@hunggar
hunggar commented

Btw my bottle (before @Nock asks!): L12 185 1049

4 years ago 0

@hunggar
hunggar commented

Oh, and no, this is not the same bottle. I'm now on the fourth. Back in those days I was reviewing bottles very quickly after opening them (another reason all my old reviews need updating). I've since bought three more, two of which were opened simultaneously (one to drink, the other left to age). While I can detect minute differences between them, Tens aren't nearly as capricious as the Oogies and Corrys.

4 years ago 0

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