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Ardbeg 10 Year Old

Average score from 90 reviews and 413 ratings 85

Ardbeg 10 Year Old

Product details

  • Brand: Ardbeg
  • Bottler: Distillery Bottling
  • ABV: 46.0%
  • Age: 10 year old

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@markjedi1
Ardbeg 10 Year Old

Ardbeg Ten... well, that hardly needs any kind of introduction, of course. It is a standard whisky, but of such good reputation that it belongs in each and every whisky cabinet. I have tried several batches and they are all - in my opinion - very close. So hat's off to the master blender, in casu Dr Bill Lumsden. Today I will try a Ten that was bottled on 17th November 2015. Classic Ardbeg nose with some lime, apples and vanilla that are soon joined by the typical maritime elements such as brine, peat smoke and something that reminds me of gasoline. Some burnt wood and even some smoked ham in the background make this nose a joy for the lovers of this type of Ileach. The peat rears its head from the very first sip. And while this Ardbeg remains sweet and creamy it's that salty edge and those notes of peat that give this it's complexity. Lots of mineral elements as well. It's like having gravel in your mouth, so to speak. I quite like this. That mineral side is extra powerful in the long and warm finish. Yes, Ardbeg Ten remains a top dram. Bull's eye every time. Thanks for the sample, Pat!

@casualtorture

Nice grassy nose. On the palate it is very Smokey, followed by a grassy, hay flavor. Finish is dry and grassy. Light to medium body, with a nice kick. This is a good go-to peated dram.

Love this whisky, but last few bottles have been mediocre. Ardbeg needs to pick up their game, as I've moved on to the really good recent offerings by Laphroaig.

@Victor

The last digit of the reviewed bottle's bottle code is unclear, but it is assumed to be 2015, because the bottle was purchased in May 2016. The bottle has been open for 10 weeks and is 85% full

Colour: very pale, like pinot grigio

Nose; petrol, bitter peat, light smoke, lemon, but not too much, light brine. I like this a lot better than when the bottle was first opened. Water added softened the nose, but did not add anything but dilution. I had bought my neighbour this bottle and a bottle of Laphroaig 10 Cask Strength Batch # 007 for a dinner party with 8 of his friends from Beijing. The Laphroaig was very popular at dinner; this was not. After dinner my neighbour gave me this bottle to take home. Score: 22.5/25

Taste: sharp-edged acrid bitter and sour peat with just a little sweet peat added; more lemon citrus than the nose, still tolerable, but near the limit of being too much. Faint hint of vanilla. Water added softened the palate and left citrus as the noticeable accompaniment to bitter and sour peat. There is no improvement with water. Score: 20.5/25

Finish: long, bitter and sour, with no balance. The finish is not a highlight. Water added increases the perception of the sour component, and offers no improvement. Score: 19/25

Balance: very good on the nose; fair to good thereafter. Score: 18.5/25

Total Sequential Score: 80.5 points

Strength: quite strong in all phases of the tasting. Score: 23/25 points

Quality: good to very good flavours throughout. Score: 21/25

Variety: good variety of flavours. Score: 21/25

Harmony: too much sour and too little sweetness in the mouth. Score: 18/25

Total Non-Sequential Score: 83 points

Comment: despite a very good nose, this batch of Ardbeg Ten goes too sour in the mouth with inadequate sweet balance and is one of the lesser batches I have tasted. If this one was blended using the nose alone, I can understand why. It does have a great nose

@Victor, thank you for the nuanced account of this particular batch of Ardbeg TEN. I am not surprised to find the “off” batch. Which is to say, the batch is not bad, but it is not up to the heights that Ardbeg can achieve.

And I agree that what usually goes wrong with Ardbeg TEN is that harmony between the sour lemon peel and the sweet peat. I hate too much of that sour note in Ardbeg. At its best the sour lemon note can really brighten up the nose (just like salt in food) which allows you to see all the complexity. But too much (like too much salt) can kill the experience.

@Pierre_W, the batches of Uigeadial and Corry are just as variable. One of the worst Corryvreckan’s I have had was @Victor’s first bottle. It had the same disjointed sour lemon notes.

@sorren, I think most people don’t know to look out for the batch number. And most people buying Ardbeg are just after a peat fix – which it can always deliver.

@Taco, I agree that the Perpetuum was like a “better than average” bottle of TEN. I remember first trying it at @Victor’s house. Then we pulled out is fantastic batch from 2010 (L10 152 – read his review). That batch was sublime and blew away the Perpetuum in my book. My conclusion, a good batch of TEN is all you really need. The problem is finding one. But once you do – stock up!

@BlueNote please provide your batch numbers from 2015 (all if you want). I have tried 3 batches from 2015, 3 from 2014 and 4 from 2013. I am happy to tell you some are quite good, while others . . . not so much.

@Alexsweden, I would answer your question by saying yes to both! I think at its best Ardbeg TEN can be the best entry single malt out there (provided you are not averse to peat). But it also produces a wide variety in terms of consistency and quality. So there are bottles of TEN I would score in the mid 90’s and some I have scored as low as the 70’s.

Now, I have not followed any other distillery as closely as I have followed Ardbeg. So I really don’t have as much experience with any other one distillery. The closest examples I can give are Laphroaig 10yo, Glenlivet 12yo, and Glenmorangie 10yo. I would say all three produce a very consistent whisky from batch to batch. I have had not-so-good examples of all three, and good examples of all three. However, none of them, at their best, can come close to Ardbeg TEN at its best. And none of them fall off as bad as Ardbeg TEN can drop. A good example of Laphroaig 10yo, Glenlivet 12yo and Glenmorangie 10yo can get into the high 80’s. And poor examples dip into the low 80’s. But most of the time I am drinking one of these single malts I think “around a B in score.”

I think of brands like Oban, Clynelish, Dalmore, Old Pulteney, Bunnahabhain, Tobermory, and countless others. None of their entry level malts ever really blow me away. You might find a good batch and think, “this is good; I enjoy this bottle.” However, with some batches of Ardbeg TEN, Amrut Fusion, Spring Bank 10yo, and Benromach 10yo you can find an excellent whisky that astounds you while the next bottles leaves you highly disappointed.

These are the two categories I tend to notice in whisky: 1.) highly consistent but not something exciting 2.) highly variable with great highs and lows.

Personally, this is why I love the second camp. I think a good bottle Springbank, Amrut, Benromach, BenRiach, Lagavulin, Bowmore or Ardbeg can launch a whiskey obsession. I have had bad batches from all of these distilleries – which can really cause you to think twice before buying again. But I have also had astonishing examples as well. I have been trying to keep track of bottle codes and batch numbers so I can hoard some of the more astonishing examples for the future. I am so grateful to Amrut for butting batches on the bottle. Ardbeg has become much easier to discern. Benromach, BenRiach and Lagavulin are very difficult to figure out (if at all).

So all this long diatribe to say, I don’t think Ardbeg should be crucified for variability. Is it variable? Yes. Are others just as bad? Yes. Is Ardbeg worthy of cult status? Yes. I have many bottles stashed away of their standard line (TEN, Uigeadail, and Corry) that are amazing. Should you rush out and buy a bottle? I would be careful. That is what brought me to Connosr several years ago. I love to exchange batch codes with likeminded individuals to hopefully avoid the “not-so-great” batches.

If you want a consistently great peat monster pick up Laphroaig 10yo Cask Strength – any batch. It will score in the low 90’s and make everyone happy. However, a good example of Uigeadail or Corry will blow Laphroiag away in my experience.

All this reminds me that I have a number of old reviews I need to post on Ardbeg!

@Nock, no one on Connosr is more prepared to write an Ardbeg 'diatribe' than you are. As I think that you already know,--and I now reiterate to all of you other gentlemen who have commented on this comment trail--I am in agreement with almost everything you, @Nock, have said above. Long late night hours tasting and discussing Islay whiskies together have led to that familiarity. I am I think a little less tolerant of some of the lesser Ardbegs than you are. Otherwise you and I give very similar appraisals of the various products of Ardbeg, Laphroaig, and Lagavulin. Yes, if consistency is what I am looking for I will go with Laphroaig, but for the biggest thrills the best products of Ardbeg would also be my preferred choice. @Nock, post those old reviews!

Gentlemen, thank you all for your comments!

@Georgy

To be honest, I never really enjoyed big peat in my dram. I am more of a fan of Speyside type flavors. BUT...this Ardbeg 10YO really makes me reconsider my stance on Islay Whisky.

NOSE: burned wood, smoked bacon, tar with lovely undertones of malty sweetness and fruitiness. A bit of water brings out the fruitiness from underneath the blanket of peat and smoke along with herbal aromas of mint.Vanilla, hints of citrus.

TASTE: complex, moderately sweet. Oily, creamy mouthfeel with gentle peat accompanying the whole experience in a very harmonious way. Mineral. The mineral nature of this dram reminds me of San Pellegrino mineral water. At the very end of its development, the taste reminds me a lot tarragon. Really, really delicious.

FINISH: warming, mineral again, ash and peat which just won't leave you alone.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Wow. I've immensely enjoyed the complexity and the contrast between the creaminess and fruitiness and the big and bold bonfire-ishness of Ardbeg 10YO along with those delicate herbal notes..

I'm definitely trying Ardbeg Uigeadail!

Thanks for the review! Do you happen to have the bottle code? You can find it on small etched letters on the lower back of the bottle. It will have an "L" and then a bunch of numbers. With it we can date your bottle and the batch.

@Georgy, Thank you for taking the time to look for the numbers. It looks like you have the new bottle, and unfortunately, I really need the numbers just after L62870. It should look like 30/05/15 or something like that. It will be the day/month/and year that your bottle was filled. That way we can see which batch you are reviewing. If you don't mind looking one more time it would really be appreciated!

h

I re-read a review I posted in 2013 wherein I gave this fine whisky a low score. I was new to Islays. As is nearly always the case, persistence paid off and now I am an almost exclusive Islay drinker and there is just no going back. Ardbeg 10 year is a wonderful flavor explosion.

I see what you mean. I was hesitant about peated whiskies when I first started. Now I very much enjoy the style. but I also enjoy other styles as well, as long as the specific expression is a well-made whisky.

I encourage you, if you have not already done so, to seek out some quality sherry-matured and bourbon matured unpeated whiskies bottled at 46% or higher. I would also recommend a Springbank offering. No harm in expanding your whisky world...

I have tried Springbank 10 YO and enjoyed it. Tried some of the sherried Macallans; so so. I drink whisky straight and like whiskies with higher ABV (like the burn). Tried most things with a little water or ice. Invariably find I wish I had not added anything. Now I don't.

@Cunundrum

Nose: Telltale Ardbeg smoked peat; old motor oil; vanilla bean; fresh thistle sap; road tar; fried green tomatoes; BBQ potato chips.

Taste: A smoky affair: good quality Ardbeg smoked peat; burning Oregon oak in a wood stove with the dried moss igniting and sizzling through the open stove door. Starts off kinda Caol Ila with hints of a beach bonfire, and then quickly veers off into a distinctly Ardbegian sense landscape that is darker and more transhumanistically industrial.

Finish: More of the same with the smoke lingering longest in a way that is a faint echo of Corry. Smoke, smoke, smoke. This has changed over the past few weeks. It used to finish with a touch more of that signature peatiness.

Well, I'd have to say that this is the best 10 Year I've had from Ardbeg in some time. I was not a fan of the 2014 bottlings. They were a bit "hinky" as they say in Chicagoland.

This one has less of the sea in it than Uigeadail but it is damned good. In a way, it faintly reminds me of Solstice 2nd Ed. on the tail end of the finish.

I would not add any water to this, but it does improve with time in the glass, as one would expect. This 2015 bottling of the 10 is far more peaty than last year's, and "That's just the way I likes it!" Bring on the peat, is what I say. Odds bodkins. You done good, Ardbeg. For a ten, you done gone and did it real proper-like. I'm going back for one or two more o' these.

Word to the wise: aerate or wait. If you find this bottling code, don't expect it to be this good right outa the gates. My bottle took a couple of months to approach where it is now in terms of my rating. When I first opened it, I was not all that impressed.

And, yes, I do rate my whisky with price in mind. So if this bottle had cost the same as Uigeadail, then I would have rated it lower, but considering it cost me just under fifty bucks, its score went up a notch or two.

This green bottle of Ardbeg Ten certainly towers like a giant over last year's releases. Of course, nothing compares to the early 2000's 10er's with their significantly older broth helping to light up the corners. So let's not try to compare anything these days to those good ole days that are long gone now.

Bottling Code: 25/03/2015

@NAV26 I see you are living in Africa. That does have its advantages when you come across a find as you have described. A stash of 10's from 2006 is fantastic! And, I'm sure you know they probably have some nice old Ardbeg single malt blended in with the 10 year single malt. As you probably know, distilleries used to do that more when they had a shortage of new stock and a surplus of old stock.

Back in the 90's and earlier they even mixed in such fantastical old spirits in blends with grain. Hard to imagine such a practice these days, but it's worth keeping in mind that back then single malt scotch whisky wasn't terribly popular around the world. My drink of choice in the 90's was Springbank 10. Back then the stuff was magical. I can remember one year when it tasted like a 17 or 18 at a really inexpensive price.

Just last year, I found a 2007 Uigeadail and did cartwheels all the way home. I purposefully went to one of the roughest neighborhoods in my city in the hopes of finding an overlooked bottle and that is what I found in behind the newer releases.

The old 2007 bottling had gotten pushed back pretty far on the top shelf. I am 6"2 with long arms and reached back on my tippy toes when I felt the old tattered box that made my heart leap. And, yes, it was just as I had hoped! I have yet to open that historic find. Waiting for a really special occasion. Nice to hear from you, NAV!

My car got rear-ended by a white trash dim-wit (who turned out not to have insurance), on the same day I got double-teamed on Connosr. So, yes, I was unhappy when I said I would never return to Connosr. This combination of unpleasantness disenchanted my whip-lashed brain.

However, some good friends on the site, who know a tremendous amount about whisky, have encouraged me to give it another shot.

And since the holidays are upon us, that's precisely what I've done after consuming a few delightful shots of the Ardbeg Ten.

I feel festive, nostalgic with this bottle that reminds me of what I used to like so much about the Ardbeg Ten of yesteryear, and I don't have to return to work until Monday. . . not sure the bottle will last that long.

@Cunundrum

Bottle just opened, so it hasn't aired out or oxygenated much.

Here are my initial impressions: It is very ashy indeed. On the nose, quite young with hints of mescal. Reminds me of PC5, but not in as sophisticated a way. A bit one dimensional.

The palate is also very young. I am reminded of tequila a bit. With quite a bit of ash and a little of the Ardbeg peat I crave. My guess is that this peat ratio will improve with oxygenation, but I can't be certain yet.

The finish goes up to a sweeter note, but not to any remarkable extent. I think that Serge and Ralfy were a bit overly optimistic about this year's Ardbeg 10.

It has NO older spirit in it. None in the least. If I were blindfolded, I would identify it as YOUNGER than 10 years. Am I disappointed in my purchase? Yes, even given the price.

I long for older Ardbegs. That is simply the way it is. I offer no apologetics. Take it as you will. One man's opinion.

There are well over 300 million people that live here. The US is the third most populous country on earth. And yet, the US has, per capita, a rather high disposal income per family even when compared with some European countries with a small fraction of its population.

My ancestors settled this land. My lineage goes back six and seven or more generations and a few lines can be traced back to the Mayflower. I am not "ripping" on America because I am unpatriotic. I am stating my opinion that Americans, on the whole, are nearly completely ignorant about what constitutes quality Scottish whisky.

This nation is filled with a huge preponderance of fools and idiots, far more, per capita, than in, say Holland, for instance, or Belgium. Both of these countries, perhaps not so coincidently, get more than their share, per capital, of really great whisky casks from some of the best distilleries in Scotland.

I was rearended in my car today by a driver with an IQ that had to have been under 100. It was frustrating, and yet, I have been surprised that it hasn't happened sooner. I tend to drive very defensively for that reason. I look in my rearview almost habitually when I break. Today, I was doing a friend a favor and hurrying. I did not stop quickly but I was not defensively driving by driving for the person behind me when I very gradually decelerated on a busy street. SMACK! The fool ran straight into me. After he got out to handle the situation by exchanging insurance papers, he left his driver's side door open to traffic. Dozens of cars honked at him and he was lucky that his door was not knocked off his vehicle. He left it open the whole time. He was, quite simply, a dolt who barely deserved the privilege of driving a vehicle.

Americans are purposefully dumbed by the news and the educational system. The majority of our food has been poisoned by virulent pesticides and the entertainment industry emphasizes brainwashing people over making money.

Just look how many horrible films have been released in the past year. That isn't an accident. It isn't market generated. And I gave you a perfectly good example of a beer that is watered down and sent to America. I also pointed out the way you could see the countries that are getting the best bottles: whiskybase.

Europeans get preferential treatment by Scottish distilleries for a reason: Over the past 100 years, they have been smarter consumers. When I was a kid, I spent quite a bit of time in Europe. The beer market in the US was dismal at the time and no hard cider was available. The wine market was primitive. Things have changed today. People are becoming more educated and the internet is helping. But many of the age old routes of trade have been in place for a long long time.

I used to work in the advertising industry as a copy writer until I could stand it no longer on moral grounds. That industry prided itself on creating demand for things that nobody needed. In other words, it educated Americans to spend money of stupid crap and to create a need for that crap in their minds.

The English have been dumbed down more recently and that's no accident: their public education system has been modeled after ours and quite a few advertising agencies are now owned by English interests.

We are in process of developing a whole series of techniques which will enable the CONTROLLING OLIGARCHY WHO HAVE ALWAYS EXISTED AND PRESUMABLY WILL ALWAYS EXIST TO GET PEOPLE TO LOVE THEIR SERVITUDE.

This is the ultimate in malevolent revolutions shall we say, and this is a problem which has interested me many years and about which I wrote thirty years ago, a fable [BLUEPRINT], Brave New World, which is an account of society making use of all the devices available and some of the devices which I imagined to be possible making use of them in order to, first of all, to standardize the population, to iron out inconvenient human differences, to create, to say, mass produced models of human beings arranged in some sort of SCIENTIFIC CASTE SYSTEM.

Since then, I have continued to be extremely interested in this problem and I have noticed with increasing dismay a number of the predictions which were purely fantastic when I made them thirty years ago have come true or seem in process of coming true.

A number of techniques about which I talked seem to be here already. And there seems to be a general movement in the direction of this kind of ultimate revolution, a method of control by which a people can be made to enjoy a state of affairs by which any decent standard they ought not to enjoy. This, the ENJOYMENT OF SERVITUDE.

--Aldous Huxley, Berkeley CA, 1962

@Georgy

NOSE: hint of vanilla, peat, burnt wood, slight citrus zest, the aroma of the ground after a heavy rain

TASTE: initially sweet, oily, creamy, with hints of citrus (tangerine), gentle peat, bonfire smoke; cardboard then also some sea salt. Very well rounded and balanced.

FINISH: mineral notes, very remote iodine.

Overall impression: a very interesting Islay experience. The taste in particular is very complex and really enjoyable. However, I wouldn't say that it's in the top 10 for me.

M

Nose - lots of peat and tar also petrol. After a few minutes smoked meat and pear notes. Palate is rich, smoky and meaty, very pleasant. Extremely long finish. Considering its young age, this whisky offers incredible balance. Great value for reasonable price. Great value for reasonable price.

It was my first ever peaty whisky and I've fallen in love with Ardbeg. So writing on my personal experience - peat monster for beginners, though my fascination has never ended. And I mentioned it's an entry level peat MONSTER. But you are right, there are a few peaty whiskies which could be less demanding.

I would not consider this "entry level" If this was my first taste of peat I'd have been scared off. After developing an appreciation for peat I do like this. But it is not a mild one...

@KMullaney

I bought this bottle to explore the other Islay offerings and I was very impressed. The peat is quite heavy which, in the case of Laphroaig was a turn off, but here it is complimented with a range of other notes.

nose: wispy/controlled smoke especially on the edges, big peat, almonds, briny sea air, airy sweetness, a really nice additional note grassy?

mouth: brine shifting to plain salt in the middle of the tongue, smoke, slight herbalness of a high quality lozenge, peat, the light sweetness from the nose.

body: light burn dies off in the finish, light mouth coat

finish: long, oak, drying in the back, salty, very very good

long lingering salt

Hold this one in your mouth and appreciate the development.

@Uisgebetha

Guaranteed 10 years old seems an odd term to use for a minimum age statement, but this distillery did stand idle for a few years in the 1990’s before Glenmorangie came to the rescue which probably explains it. I first encountered this malt shortly after it’s revival in an Oddbins in Nottinghill, London. I should also have invested in the 17 year old, but alas I was a poor student back then and had other priorities so I never had the pleasure of that famous dram. The mysterious pale, almost colourless liquor, was a shock to my younger self (it didn’t look like whisky as I knew it) but I soon got over it.

There may be a tad more colour to the dram these days, but not much. The aroma is clean and smoky, with a phenolic peat smoke edge, along with some sweeter notes of vanilla and some herby heather like hints. The flavours are awesome and given time to develop reward the drinker with seemingly endless subtle complexities. Not an easy ride though as there almost as many bitter piquant notes as there are sweet mellow ones, smoke, phenolic peat, bitter coffee on one side and sandlewood, chocolate, vanillas and malt on the other and a saltyness marries the twain. The sweeter flavours dominate the long satisfying finish with more malt contribution rising in favour of the peat smoke.

Way back 33 years ago, this was the one that made me love single malt Scotch. Selection among single malts in my area prior were just Glenfiddich 12 and Glenlivet 12, neither of which I liked much. Chivas was what I preferred at the time. When I first tried Glenmorangie 10, I knew I'd found my "soul mate" and have bought it along with other versions since. Something about the base malt that I find pleasant and comforting, even though I also have dozens of other bottles open at any given time. Excellent as the first dram of the night to set the palate, or as a pool side drink.

Do you happen to have a bottle code to add to your review? I would love to stock up on a good batch of the TEN . . . but sadly I haven't found one I thought was worth it since L11 194. I have a bottle of L12 218 that I was initially smitten with, but it doesn't stack up in comparing it with my L11 194 and @Victor's L10 152.

@szila

This is my favourite entry Level bottle. The heavy peat and fresh citrus hits all the right spots.

Nose: Very thick, clean and aromatic. Deep campfire smoke, wood, brine, peat, tar and petroleum. On the sweeter side some licourice, lemon, sweet bacon. Just delightful.

Palate: Oily mouth-feel. Starts a bit funky, with lemon juice. Sweet ash, burnt toast, salty and smoky. Not as balanced as the nose.

Finish: Long, meat, malt, warming earthy peat and chocolate. Soapy licorice, salt.

The funky lemon-peat game was weird at first, but definitely a grower. As the 50ml finished, I was desperately in love. The cleanliness and lots of other notes remind me of Caol Ila, but with considerably more peat. It is kind of paradoxical: not complex but rich - simple but satisfying.

@scribe

Found notes on the Old Ardbeg 10, last drams, tucked in a drawer.

Nose: Licorice, and oily, tarry Sherry sweets. Freshly varnished fence posts. Stewed apples and lemon peel. Sea salt. So much goin on, people are afraid of it because they don't know what to think.

Body: fizzy cola, cough medicine, winter spices, then salt and red wine, but fruity like merlot. Raisins. Peanuts. Hint of toast.

Finish: licorice again, rounding it all off. Awesome dram - so much, so balanced for a 10 year old.

Yes - I used the option to rate out of 40. Didn't realise the site doesn't recalibrate to take that into account... If I scale it up, I make it 82.5.

If I had to rate it out of 100, I'd probably rate it higher actually - probably around 89. The whole is more than the sum of the parts.

Not I just need to find another bottle of the old 10 year :(

@scribe, you can change the score any time you wish to reflect what you actually mean, with respect to the conventional scoring system we use on Connosr. If you leave this score as it is, you do injustice to the reputation of the whisky.

@MacKinnon

After having enjoyed a glass of this with a friend several months ago, I had an opportunity to purchase a 1 liter bottle in duty-free on my last flight. I must say I have been initially disappointed; as this lot seems to be exceedingly strong in nose and taste with a "burning rubber" chemically sensation. At first I contemplated throwing it out or relegating it to the back of the cupboard; but I have recently re-sampled adding water (and I little more than I might normally use) and I now find it beginning to grow on me. Still BIG smoke and huge attitude, but definitely complex... I won't go on about palate and finish at this time - I'm still sorting it out!!

Thanks for the review and the L batch number. I just picked up a bottle of TEN with the code L14 042. So about 3 months before yours was bottled. Your notes on the nose sound eerily familiar to my batch. It has a strong paint thinner/formaldehyde note. But it is big and smoky. It sounds like you are doing the very thing that I would advise: give it some time with air in the bottle, and then come back to it. It will certainly change. The hope is that it will improve in a direction you enjoy.

@hunggar

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.

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.

@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.

t

My first taste of an Ardbeg, one of the peatiest Islay malts.

­Nose – Peat smoke, tar and creosote, fresh pears and pear drops, then a hint of menthol and lots of creamy, buttery vanilla icing and some sharp, sweet lemon citrus. With water a hint of sea salt and fresh, damp pine forest. ­ Palate – Initial attack of peat, bonfire smoke and lots of sweet coal tar along with a vegetal earthiness. Then light but intense fruity flavours of fresh pear, apple juice, sharp citrus lemon, creamy milk in the background, with hints of pepper and allspice, with the a big hit of leafy, herbal peat returning at the back of the mouth with some salt. Oily mouth-feel. ­ Finish – Mellow, vegetal peat smoke and sweet tar, and a touch of saltiness. Tobacco, warming spices, black coffee, along with dry fennel and liquorice at the end, forming a long, slightly bitter finish.

Different from other peaty malts I've tried, a complex combination of light fruity flavours and heavy peaty, tarry smoke. Lovely complex flavours throughout nose, palate and finish and certainly recommendable.

You can't beat this one in the peated bang for your buck category. This is the one that turned me onto peat about 10 years ago. Nice review @thewhiskydoctor, I think you are probably hooked.

@Nock

So on my last trip up to visit (and taste) with @Victor I took the opportunity to pick up (and open) a new batch of Ardbeg (batch L13 241). I opened it at his place and we both tasted it. I thought, “this is a pretty good Ardbeg TEN.” The reaction of @Victor was that it was an inferior batch. He then let me try his open bottle . . . this batch . . . and BAM my Ardbeg experience was brought back into perspective. This L10 152 is a great batch, and I am very grateful that @Victor gave me a sample to do this review. Here is my impression after one taste at his place and a 2oz sample bottle. I can only imagine what this must have been like when it was freshly opened . . .

Nose: Very big on the nose! Tons of peat, far more ash, tar, fresh asphalt, and motor oil then the L9. This also has tons of fresh cut grass; it almost stings the nose. This can’t be 46% . . . it has so much power! (and I know it has been open for a while!) There is a bit of lemon there adding some brightness, but it is only noticeable when you really hunt for it. Lemon is not a note I immediately go to with this nose. This has a surprising amount of “midrange” tone to the nose. It hits you right were a good Brora would; what I call the “mustard tone” region. This has a wonderful one, two punch. First it hits you with a low deep peat tone, and then K-POW in the face with tons of midrange and high tones. I like it. It definitely is in competition with the L11 194 for best nose of the night. Now it is getting into some lime and lemon tones (like lime cream). This is easily the biggest nose of the night, and perhaps the biggest Ardbeg TEN nose I have encountered.

Taste: This is sweet, but not as sweet as several of the other batches. Very thick ex-bourbon influence of vanilla, wood, but still plenty of peat. There is a hint of that charcoal wood.

Finish: Big peat attack with an abundance of that liquorish note. The liquorish is sweeter then the L13 241, but without being as big and dominant. That said the liquorish is bigger than the L11 194. Now, lots of hay, barley, and grassy notes appear to go with the peat and iodine. Very much in that “cut grass” category compared to other Ardbeg batches. I like it.

Complexity, Balance: Second most complex and second most balanced batch of the night. It is the biggest (which I like). It really is that mid-range cut grass that really causes this one to stand out. It isn’t quite as complex on the finish as the L13 241, but I love the power.

Aesthetic experience: Love this bottle. It is just fantastic. 46% is the minimum that it needs to be. It is also NCF and I highly doubt there is ANY e-150a in these bottles.

Conclusion: I would LOVE to own a few bottles of this. I swear, @Victor has some fantastic batches of Ardbeg at hand. When you regularly encounter amazing batches of Ardbeg it is easy to see why people go gaga for this distillery. And then there are bad batches. If your first bottle is one of these you will probably be very disappointed in Ardbeg and question all the hype. My answer – check your special secret batch code!! Here good people is a fantastic example of Ardbeg TEN from the newly produced spirit. I doubt there are any old casks in this vatting . . . and it is still amazing. It goes to show the importance of cask selection.

@rigmorole thank you for the kind words. When I first came to this site I was looking for help with buying good bottles. My hope in these comparative reviews is that it helps someone in finding bottles they enjoy - even if that means finding out that they disagree with my opinions and ratings! At least someone can learn to read my subjective reviews in a way that is helpful.

That is one thing I really appreciate about your reviews and @Victor's (and anyone else who posts numerous reviews). With multiple reference points you can track another reviewer's "preference." I am now much better at reading Jim Murray's reviews. I now "get" what he is looking for, and so when I read his review of a particular whisky (like Ballantine's 17yo) I can tell if I will like it or not (I most likely will not like it).

Just a terrific review. Thanks for sharing the wealth of knowledge! Victor is a treasure among connosrs. I'm not surprised that he had a bottle of Ardbeg up his sleeve with which to dazzle you back in the day. Then again, you learn fast, Nock!

@Nock

So this is the most recent batch of Ardbeg TEN that I have picked up. When I opened it with @Victor in March my very first impression was, “this is a good batch.” Then I tried @Victor’s batch from L10 which blew this one away in power and depth. Since that experience I have slowly drained this bottle . . . and I examined it against a number of other whiskies at different times (3 different Corry’s, Uigeadails, Laphroaig’s, and other peaty beasts). Finally, I put it up against 4 other batches of Ardbeg TEN. I have scored it on 4 occasions: 91, 92, 90, and 91. So I have to come down on the side of saying that this is a very good batch. It doesn't blow your socks off . . . but it is good.

Nose: Creamiest batch of the night. It has some low tones, and it has some high tones. The peat is down low, coal in the middle with the lemon up high. It is like a peat coal cake (with some dark cacao) with a lemon frosting. The peat is the base, then the coal, and finally the lemon rests on top. There is also some wood right in the middle with the coal. It doesn’t have quite the low or the high tones of the L11, but it does have some interesting mild oil, dirt, mineral, and peat notes. This isn’t as dark or deep as the L11 or the L10, but this does have some interesting pine needles, and “green” smells happening. Probably the smoothest nose of the batches tonight. This is far from a complex Ardbeg nose, but this is spot on for a standard Ardbeg 10yo in my book.

Taste: Very sweet compared to the L9. But in actually this is medium sweet. Loads of peat, citrus, and wood. Maybe some pine cones? Light peat, some salt, wood, barley . . . and something that reminds me of a light Speysider (a Glen-something). A little bit of smoke but not mind blowing.

Finish: Big peat blast (very liquorishy), now a low rumble that is chest warming. This is all about peat, and wood fire. Tons of that wood, peat coal, and liquorish. Far bigger, darker with more minerality than the L9 or the L11. This has that diesel oil and coal thing going on. This might have the biggest finish of the night if not for that L10. Definitely the woodiest finish of the night . . . but in a good way.

Complexity, Balance: Lots going on here. Not as big as the L10 or as complex as the L11, but still very interesting and enjoyable for a 10 year old.

Aesthetic experience: Love this bottle. It is just fantastic. 46% is the minimum that it needs to be. It is also NCF and I highly doubt there is ANY color in these bottles. Average color for a TEN.

Conclusion: This isn’t as big and powerful as the L10 152. Nor is it as dark and complex as the L11 194. However, it has something to it that is really hard to place. Much like the standard Laphroaig 10yo this batch can drink bigger then it actually is. I enjoy it quite a bit. And so, while the score in only a point or two below other batches I enjoy far more . . . this is still one I am tempted to buy more of even thought I am not sure why. I reach for it over other whiskies that I score much higher. For that reason I consistently score it in the low 90’s. But in all honesty I would expect most people to score this batch in the high 80’s.

@Nock

This is a bottle I opened while I was living in Seattle. That means I bought it and opened it sometime in 2009 (I really can’t remember any more than that). I have a picture of it being ¼ full and open in December of 2009 along with several other Ardbeg bottles (Uigeadail, Supernova, Almost There, and the Beist). I re-bottled it before I left in 2010 (so the bottle is long gone along with its precious code). Then I re-bottled it into an even smaller bottle on the 1st of December 2012. On a recent night I tasted against 4 other Ardbeg TEN batches (L10 152, L11 194, L13 003, and L13 241).

Nose: Peat, peat, and a hint of lemon. Some ash, some coal, a bit of diesel oil, and then more peat hinted with lemon. Smoke almost to the point of bitterness like a fire pit the morning after a fire . . . almost. There is more chlorine, and a higher tone than the L11 194. This is probably the ashiest nose of the night. Not that deep or complex. It could easily have been all the time it had to oxidize.

Taste: Less sweet then the L13 241. Then it starts moving in the non-sweet direction in a hurry. Not bitter, but certainly on the verge. There is plenty of wood, sawdust, pencil shavings, and peat followed by a bit of ash and smoke as well. This batch is certainly the “non-sweet” side of Ardbeg.

Finish: A bit of sweetness (natural raw cane sugar) that quickly dies away . . . now the classic Ardbeg intake of breath . . . here comes the wave of peat, iodine, and salt . . . so slow and long. This is more of a saline solution then the sharp sea spray that Ardbeg usually has. Everything is a bit mellow here (again, oxidization?)

Complexity, Balance: Not the most complex on the nose, but very well balanced on the taste and finish . . . almost too balanced for me. I like my Ardbeg with a bit more bite than this. But then, who knows how long I had it opened and oxidizing?

Aesthetic experience: Love this bottle. It is just fantastic. 46% is the minimum that it needs to be. It is also NCF and I highly doubt there is ANY color in these bottles. This particular batch is average color; almost the exact color as the L13 241!

Conclusion: This bottle might go back all the way back to 2008 when I opened a bottle of the Beist and Almost There on my birthday (I drank WAY slower in those days). What I can remember is never being impressed with this bottle. It was just standard issue. And now all these years later it is still just an average Ardbeg TEN at best. Older versions are not always better.

@Jemesa
@Pierre_W

Ardbeg is undoubtedly one of the most well-known and beloved malt whisky distilleries in the world. Founded by Alexander Stewart, Ardbeg’s first record as a distillery dates back to 1794, and commercial production began in 1815. During its long history the distillery was closed down on a number of occasions only to be reopened again by new owners each time. After having been mothballed in 1981 the distillery resumed production in 1989 and continued at a low level through to July 1996 when it closed again until the following year. In 1997 Ardbeg distillery was acquired by Glenmorangie plc (who shortly thereafter were taken over by Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton) and production resumed. The 10-year old expression was introduced in 2000 and has been part of Ardbeg’s core range ever since. Here is the label code, especially for Nock: L14 014 07:01 6ML.

The nose is crisp, fresh, salty and lightly smoky. There are plenty of vanilla flavours, together with milky cereal sweetness, brine and hints of lemon.

The palate is medium-bodied and just a tad peppery. Lemon, vanilla and salt are at the forefront, until a wave of soft smoke rolls over the tongue. Towards the end distinctly sweet elements such as liquorice and dried fruits emerge.

The finish is of medium length, smoky and salty. Smokiness and sweetness are well balanced, with cereal flavours and hints of liquorice making a final appearance.

I am a big fan of Ardbeg and I do like almost all expressions, be it the assertive Corryvreckan, the lush Uigeadail, the seductive Airigh Nam Beist – you name it. However, the 10-year old expression lacks the complexity that all of the above-mentioned come with. Is it fresh and fruity? Yes. Is it nicely smoky? Yes. But that is about it. Somehow I would have expected a little bit more depth and character.

@Pierre_W, thanks for your nice review. I am glad that you provided the bottle code, and I hope that @Nock has some observations to make. I have to say, with these Ardbegs, especially, if you are not drinking from the same batch, you really aren't drinking the same whisky as the next person giving a review. I've only owned one bottle of Ardbeg 10, and had not until very recently ever sampled from any other. My bottle tasted fantastic, so that was my impression of Ardbeg 10. Recently @Nock tried some of my bottle of Ardbeg 10 and, if I remember correctly, said he thought it was the best batch of Ardbeg 10 he had ever tried. That bottle came from batch L 10 152--bottled one day after my favourite batch of Uigeadail.

So, when I think of Ardbeg 10 I think of L 10 152, but, of course, there are many other batches of Ardbeg 10 also in existence, which are different and which I have not sampled.

I am sure that it is a horrific dilemma for a distillery in times of great demand for product such as now, to decide what to do about inferior casks and scarce supplies of the well-aged whisky. No doubt they try to keep the quality top-notch, but that may not always be possible, given the logistical constraints of the situation. I expect that most of the time they rely upon clever blending to attempt to achieve a good overall effect. Sometimes it may work, and other times shortcomings of the stock may be noticeable.

@tastydram

Ardbeg had been very close to being buried next to Port Ellen and a few other legendary distilleries. The distillery had been mothballed twice in the eighties and nineties.

The real salvation came from Glenmorangie (now LVHM). Since the stills were reheated in 1997, Ardbeg's reputation soared like an eagle. Now fans nearly come to blows when they launch special or limited editions.

The core range is rather limited. The Ardbeg Ten is accompanied by two NAS expressions: Uigeagail and Corryvreckan. And that's about it. Every year on May 31th, Ardbeg Day, they launch a new limited edition. And since 2014 is all about the World Cup in Brazil it was named Auriverdes.

Tasting Notes Colour: Ardbeg Ten clearly matures exclusively in ex-bourbon casks. It is a light yellow whisky with a sticky texture. The tears slide gracefully down the glass.

Nose: Typical Ardbeg peat smoke (makes sense right?) pairs nicely with rubber and used bicycle tires. A sea breeze over the pier combined with sweet vanilla flavours and citrus zest. Further up are associations of tar, blown matches and chlorine. Water releases sweet aromas. Vanilla, black pudding with raisins and smoked bacon with a thin coat of maple syrup. Everything is garnished with some lemon marmalade.

Taste: The tongue undergoes a pleasant symbiosis of sweet and salt. Juicy pears with coarse sea salt, freshly picked mint, rosemary and vanilla. Towards the end the smoky and citric flavours return. Adding water to this Ardbeg means adding a little more richness: black pepper, roasted milk bread and grounded coffee.

Finish: The black pepper continues through the finish with some star anise. A relatively long finish.

Conclusion This was my very first peated whisky nearly two years ago. Saying I wasn't convinced was an understatement at the time. Right now it’ll be more something like “Bring it on !”. These kind of flavour bombs are the reason a (wo)man starts drinking whisky.

Ardbeg Ten can be found everywhere. Every supermarket with a decent range or nameworthy liquor store, has it in store. The price has, influenced by demand and duties, risen towards the € 50 mark.

@tastydram

Ardbeg had been very close to being buried next to Port Ellen and a few other legendary distilleries. The distillery had been mothballed twice in the eighties and nineties.

The real salvation came from Glenmorangie (now LVHM). Since the stills were reheated in 1997, Ardbeg's reputation soared like an eagle. Now fans nearly come to blows when they launch special or limited editions.

The core range is rather limited. The Ardbeg Ten is accompanied by two NAS expressions: Uigeagail and Corryvreckan. And that's about it. Every year on May 31th, Ardbeg Day, they launch a new limited edition. And since 2014 is all about the World Cup in Brazil it was named Auriverdes.

Tasting Notes Colour: Ardbeg Ten clearly matures exclusively in ex-bourbon casks. It is a light yellow whisky with a sticky texture. The tears slide gracefully down the glass.

Nose: Typical Ardbeg peat smoke (makes sense right?) pairs nicely with rubber and used bicycle tires. A sea breeze over the pier combined with sweet vanilla flavours and citrus zest. Further up are associations of tar, blown matches and chlorine. Water releases sweet aromas. Vanilla, black pudding with raisins and smoked bacon with a thin coat of maple syrup. Everything is garnished with some lemon marmalade.

Taste: The tongue undergoes a pleasant symbiosis of sweet and salt. Juicy pears with coarse sea salt, freshly picked mint, rosemary and vanilla. Towards the end the smoky and citric flavours return. Adding water to this Ardbeg means adding a little more richness: black pepper, roasted milk bread and grounded coffee.

Finish: The black pepper continues through the finish with some star anise. A relatively long finish.

Conclusion This was my very first peated whisky nearly two years ago. Saying I wasn't convinced was an understatement at the time. Right now it’ll be more something like “Bring it on !”. These kind of flavour bombs are the reason a (wo)man starts drinking whisky.

Ardbeg Ten can be found everywhere. Every supermarket with a decent range or nameworthy liquor store, has it in store. The price has, influenced by demand and duties, risen towards the € 50 mark.

@Maltfisher

This is a great single malt hall marked with its peat character and it's deep savory richness. Nose: tinge of salt cured meat, savory peat, dirt, citric acid, over ripe almost decaying onion. Caramelized onion. Taste: rich robust smoke as from a barbecue. An onion sweatiness with an ex bourbon chatted sweetness. It's an easy to I obtain classic. Take your time with it and you will receive dividends. I will seek to replace my bottle.

@Jules

Well... having found this for £37 (44€) in the UK this weekend I decided to go for it.

I'm not an advanced drammer by any stretch of the imagination, but being a great fan of HP and Lagavulin I thought I'd see what a heavier peated scotch tasted like.

Nose - love it... maritime and oily. Fish? But not quite the silky 'smoked salmon' of the Lagavulin 16...

Palate - wow... I get mostly rubber, iodine and dark unsweetened chocolate. Medium to full bodied... I cannot find any of the vanilla or zesty flavours mentioned by many.

Finish - moss, iodine & more burnt rubber. I find it hard to get past that rubber for some reason! Makes it hard to really enjoy.

For me the finish is far too much about the iodine & burnt rubber than anything else. I just don't get much flavour-complexity out of this.

Maybe it will grow on me, but I just don't like it anywhere near as much as the other peated whiskies I've tried, ie. Lag'16 and Laphr 10/15

I will add water with it next time and see what changes...

...continued from above (pressed 'enter' by mistake)

Could it be that it needs to be 'broken in' after opening the bottle? I found this with some of the other Scotches I've had.

But one problem I encountered after drinking this Ardbeg - all the other peated Whiskies suddenly tasted a tad more bitter than before?? I can almost ONLY taste the peat somehow, even in the HP18...

Has the peat of the 'Beg taken over my palate? I will lay off the drams for two days and hopefully that will cure my 'peat-tongue' !

FYI @ Nock - I will check the batch# for you this evening.

Wow you got a fresh batch there! Bottled on August 1st of this year. We don't get 'em quite that quickly here in Virginia.

What have you found with the sweet/bitter peat thing? I will agree that Ardbeg can easily be the sweetest of the Big Three. And tasted together Laphroaig and Lagavulin can seem bitter next to it. However, not all Ardbeg batches are equal. Some have a great deal of sour to them. It makes me wonder if the blender is trying to balance out the sweetness . . .

Thanks for the info and the batch number!

@Aulay

I have to say that this was not my first Islay malt but was my first Ardbeg. I can still remember the nose on this dram. It was a lemony, peaty, vanilla, with an espresso boldness that I can still taste today. From the first nosing this dram had a majesty about it that needed no pre-description. If you love the Islay malts you'll remember the one that got you hooked. This was mine. I could nose this whiskey for hours. The scents of the sea, that fishy/salty smoke, with a peppery-citrus tang and soft vanilla undertone. I cannot think of another Ten year old malt with such depth and diversity. Slainte Mhath!

Laphroaig 10 got me hooked on Islays.

@ozmalt

This is my first review despite 40 years of devotion to my favourite tipple. I started on blends and have matured/graduated from the sweet highlands to the caramel Kirkwall Islands and am now stumbling cheerily through Peaty Islay. I am a huge fan of Laphroaig and Lagavulin. Reviews and thoughts on these will flow later.

Ardbeg 10 is my third wonderful discovery and I was a little hesitant after reading mixed reviews but the first breath from the bottle dispelled my fears. I have a hound dog nose and could get a weekend job working with beagles at the airport so I'm told. My descriptors may differ from the more experienced reviewers on this site so here goes.

Nose - cool peat smoke like a menthol cigarette. Orange zest crushed and minced with white pepper. Taste - up front I get brined lemon and rock salt. Complexity or at the back is old blackcurrent jam and light ash. Finish - dull over ripe plums and a waft of smoke.

Batch L11 011 14.53 6ML

First welcome second great review, hope you will have fun with us a this site, and hope you will ask questions when they come up. I love this Ardbeg 10yr I own other Ardbegs just haven't opened them yet. Thanks again. :)

Thanks @PMessinger. I like the variety of comments and the range of experience on this site. Each review seems to shed new light on some of the whisky I thought I knew, which makes me curious to go and taste them again....and again....

@GBrough

I was scared of this single malt and even more scared to write this review until i got a better handling of this beast, Nose: Peat, lemon-lime, dark chocolate, Menthol, black pepper, a hemp like aroma, graphite, smoked salted fish, bacon. Palate:Peat, tangy lemon-lime, black pepper, smoked fish, coffee, bananas, currants. Finish: Smoked Cheddar, smoke, chewy expresso

Overall an excellent whisky, i prefer it over laphroaig. Try this and give it a chance and watch as you are amazed by the strength of it.

@GBrough - Glad to see a bourbon drinker appreciate this fine dram. Got a batch number? (Faint numbers/letters towards the bottom on the back of the bottle. Use a magnifying glass if your eyes are as old as mine.)

I will look for it

@WhiskyBee

Here’s a little comparison review of an older vs. newer bottle of Ardbeg 10, just to see if any significant changes occurred with this popular dram over a three-year period.

I found an older bottle of Ardbeg 10, tucked behind a row of newer bottles, on the shelf at the local store. I recognized the older-style packaging that was discontinued in 2009, so of course I snatched it up. Bottle code is L9 096, which, I believe, is the last batch issued in the U.S. (April 2009, according to the Ardbeg Project website) with the old bottle and packaging. This review will compare that bottle to a 2012 bottling, with a code of L12 071.

Maybe there’s not much practical value in comparing two random batches, I’ll admit. And it might prove nothing insofar as the “older=better” debate is concerned. I could have a sensational batch from ’12 and a dud from ’09, after all. So maybe I have no better reason for writing this review than wanting to share my thoughts as I enjoyed these two drams side-by-side.

The 2012 bottle is about five months old, down below the halfway mark. Last sampled a couple of months ago, and gassed after doing so. This will be my third dram from the 2009 bottle, opened three days ago.

Nose (2012, neat): Stings with earthy peat. A bit of that unpleasant pavement-after-rain smell. Lemons and fresh sea air help balance things. Something sharp and metallic here, and I kind of like the way it kicks you in the nostrils and dares you not to like it. Tames down considerably after a 12-minute sit.

Nose (2009, neat): Much, much fresher. No dirty or metallic notes here. The peat and lemons are co-stars here, and a little touch of mint is a new supporting player. No sting, no alcohol, even with the heartiest of whiffs.

Palate (2012, neat): Nice and syrupy on arrival, nice oily coating as it sits. Begins rather subtly with vanilla and citrus fruits (or a lime Dreamsicle, if you prefer), followed by a slow-creeping burn of peat and pepper. A fascinating finish comes and goes in waves: just when you think it’s gone, it comes back for yet another encore. Carmel and smoke during the quiet moments, pepper and smoke during the crescendos.

Palate (2009, neat): Yes, this is a very different beast. Smooth as butter on silk, even if that smoothness compensates for some lack of balance. (But then, whoever praised Ardbeg 10 for its balance?) More tame and watery in the arrival than the ’12, and the development is much slower, but the same heat and peppers show up eventually. No back-and-forth finish here; it’s steady, long-lasting, but mild—and with much more wood. The wood turns sticky and sappy after about a minute.

Even at a rather healthy 49% ABV, I prefer Ardbeg 10 neat. But I also enjoy its changes after a few drops of water. Just a few, please. It’s a lousy swimmer and drowns easily.

Nose (2012, with water): A strong vanilla note, absent before. The vanilla almost dominates now, in fact, as the neat aromas become soft whispers. The peat makes a major resurgence after a 10-minute wait.

Nose (2009, with water): Same as the 2012, only less so. The vanilla is tamer, the other aromas near-invisible, and the traces of peat are slightly dirtier. Overall, however, there’s a bright freshness to it that’s something of a face-slapper in itself.

Palate (2012, with water): Eerily like the neat 2009. Quiet, neutral arrival, followed by some peppery sting. A little more vanilla overall. Some wood, no longer exclusive to the ’09, appears in the finish.

Palate (2009, with water): Two or three drops of water really make a difference in this one. A creamy balance of vanilla and peat on the arrival, with a much more interesting burn (peat, pepper, lemons and limes) as it develops. The finish is more clipped, but it’s full of some nice vanilla and oak. Nothing but pure peat at the fadeout. Yum.

Hmmm…I guess I didn’t prove much beyond the difference in two each-in-its-own-way tasty batches. And that you should nose and drink both neat, although be sure to have a couple of sips of the ’09 with a little water. And that I probably didn’t mention “peat” in this review as often as I should have. On most nights, I’d give a 90 to both, but I’m in a generous mood tonight.

I've been trying to find a bottle of the 2009 Ardbeg 10 in town here. It seems the carton has black labels for everything, whereas the 2012 has writing below the black label on the gold colored box and the bottle of the 2012 has a yellowy orange box around the word "nonchilfiltered" on the 2012 but not on the 2009.

Is that right? Anybody know? WhiskyBee? Can you compare, since you've got both laying around right now?

It's very hard to determine the difference because reviews of the 2012 sloppily use/recycle online images of the 2009 bottle and the 2009 box. I don't see the bottling date anywhere on the bottles or the cartons. I've looked fairly thoroughly at the liquor store.

I would like to put away a few bottles of the 2009 in my collection for a rainy day in the future. They are getting harder and harder to find. I used to like the 10 year more and your review minded me why, WhiskyBee.

Big thanks go out to WhiskyBee for generously opening up a bottle of the 2009 when he still had a bottle of the 2012 open. Well done, WhiskyBee. Well done.

Great review! I think it is always helpful to put one dram up against another – in particular when you have two different bottles of the same thing. So bravo for cracking open the old bottle! It sounds like a very valuable lesson was learned – Ardbeg 10 is mostly consistent and mostly great. And I think this is a rare thing for distilleries. They are all going to change from batch to batch. The key is not for a consistent flavor profile but a consistent quality (just my opinion). That said, I have never been disappointed with a standard purchase from Ardbeg Ten, Laphroaig 10yo, or Lagavulin 16yo.

@ElCocos

This will be my first review, been drinking whisky for soon a year now. Actually started my spirit journey alltogether about a year ago. My first love was Jack Daniels Old no7, now i think its average, but still good. My taste has gravitated to more heavy stuff, islays, cask strength whiskys and brandys.

Nose: Nosed from a brandy balloon. Matchbox, ash, candlewax, dirt, oak, white wine.

Palate: Same as nose. Pasta, very sweet-sugary, some vanilla and citrus.

Finish: Peatsmoke, wax, licoricy, slight dirt and green apple skin. Coats ure mouth and last long.

This whisky sorts of taste like a bourbon highland malt with islay heavy peat, i like the laphroaigs ive tasted better(quarter+10yo) where the style of the malt suits the peat better. Laphroaig is more musty/funky in the overall taste, while Ardbeg TEN have that clean highland taste to it in addition to the peat. Not much complexity, but still a very good whisky if u like that heavy islay peat.

Excellent, and welcome! And interesting information. I have an Uigeadail batch L13 058 (so about month before yours was bottled). I am surprised you have and Uigeadail and a 10yo from the exact same day. Would you mind checking to make sure? I am very interested to know the time mark (05:44). I know it does happen, but I am curious to know which came first on that day; the Uigeadail or the 10yo.

I have also heard that they can make up a batch, and the liquid can sit in the gigantic vat for a time. So it is possible that your Uigeadail mix on the 079 day of this year is the exact same thing I have from the 058th day of the year. I am going to try and have a review of it up soon.

Thanks for including the batch number! I find it super helpful with Ardbeg reviews. Often the differences from batch to batch are surprising. Where are you? Some batches are designate to specific regions and countries.

@Nock

Nose: Sweet maritime peat greets your nose. Wood chips and splinters, sea salt, seaweed, and wet rocks dominate the middle of the nose. After you get past the peat smoke you can pick up the citric lemon acid tinges to the whole. Definitely lemon zest mixed with maritime peat. It is an austere peat; not the deep complex peat of Lagavulin nor the muddy and iodine peat of Laphroaig. It makes you thing of old leather chairs, bits of wood by the fireplace, and a smoldering peat fire. This is a coastal boat trip with a peat fired engine. However, there is also a bit of that citrus lemon oil from the peel going on here. Light citrus hovers over the peat bog: lemon zest trimming the bog just like the golden celtic knot trims the dark label and bottle. Truly this smells like the bottle looks . . . love it! And the smoke . . . it undergirds everything here. You don’t even notice it because it is in the background. With water – more peat and lemon. Also there is a bit of chocolate that emerges. It actually took water rather well. I like it quite a bit. No change in score.

Taste: Light gold peat on the tongue. Semi-sweet peat with a notes of vanilla, sea salt, seaweed paper, and a hint of iodine on the back. There is lemon rind mixed with peat and a nice pinch of sea salt on top of a bead of cooked seaweed. Also, a hint of oak with plenty of smoke in the background. The slightly bitter earth balances nicely with the slightly sweet peat. = 5.5

Finish: Big Ardbeg intake of breath along with that searing hot salt water . . . but no big wave. Interesting. Big dollop of peat, moss, dark earth, tree bark, oak, and smoke. There is also plenty of that seaweed paper, spicy red pepper, and some of that lemon rind zing. Lovely and lingering.

Complexity, Balance: Very complex . . . for a 10yo. This does an amazing balance of the peat and the lemon, the maritime and the bonfire. The balance of sweet peat to sour citrus, bitter dark earth to spices; smoke to seaweed is amazing. It delivers what it promises on the nose. Really complex, refined and balanced on the nose. That alone gets it into a top running. It is a study in complexity and balance: it doesn’t seem like a peat bruiser a mouth destroyer, nor is it passive and gentile. It is everything I want in a single malt. The only thing keeping it from perfection in my book is that it lacks those extra crazy elements (like old Ardbegs, and Broras) that cause you to be amazed at its depth. Not quite there . . . but then it is only 10 years old . . . and for a 10yo it is amazing!

Aesthetic experience: Slightly more straw and lighter color then the L13 003. Love this bottle (and this batch). I love the label, the shape, the color, the ABV, the ncf, and the traditional “A.” If only I could find more bottles like this one!

So have tasted this on several occasions since this review. I recently tasted it against 4 other Ardbeg TEN batches (L9 ???, L10 152, L13 003, and L13 241). And so I have to bump this score up a bit. This is about tied with the L10 for my favorite batch.

Nose: Also big, dark, mineral, asphalt, coal . . . oh, and peat. Plenty of it here. This has less midrange then the L10, but more bass that is darker. Tons of sea salt, iodine, seaweed and maritime notes. This is probably the darkest nose of the night, and second biggest behind the L10, . . . and probably my favorite.

However, the finish is not as big as the L10 or the L13 241. Still the complexity in this guy is almost impossible to beat in a 10 year old whisky.

Very happy to have two more bottles!

Excellent reviews. I like these comparison reviews.

@Nock

Nose: Peat, lime, cream and vanilla. The vanilla suggests a vatting of very fresh ex-bourbon casks (in this case from Jack Daniels). The citrus is stronger and more astringent then what I consider typical Ardbeg. I would say more on the lime side then the lemon side of things. And there is this soft creaminess to the nose as opposed to the dark bog you can often get. The peat is much more in the background covered up by the citrus and vanilla. Smoke is creeping out around the edges. I know after some time this will get smokier. Sweet vanilla and lime cream with smoke and salted capers. Strong sweetness from the vanilla is almost a high tenor in tone.
Water really dampens the vanilla and brings up the peat smoke. Still plenty strong. Decent standard Ardbeg nose with peat smoke and citrus. Nothing deep, mind blowing, or amazing.

Taste: Nice creamy vanilla and lime mixed with peat; now some smoke and capers are coming out. An alder plank smoked trout with caper berries! A little more rounded then I like my Ardbeg TEN.

Finish: Nice Ardbeg intake of breath . . . here comes the wave of sea salt and peat. Medium to medium low wave. Not the big Uigeadail, Corry, or Supernova tidal wave I have come to love. A decent finish all things told. Nothing overwhelming; but still Ardbegy. The creamy lime really leaves a mark. Not my favorite “new” Ardbeg tone.

Complexity, Balance: Decent balance for the 10yo. Not the most complex by any means, but about what you would expect from a standard 10yo. The problem is I have come to expect WAY more from Ardbeg then this is showing.

Aesthetic experience: Very light straw color. I love the label, the shape, the color of the bottle, the ABV, the ncf, and the traditional “A."

OK! The @Nock Ardbeg multiple batch reviews have begun. Bravo!...and thanks. There is nothing like having diligent and detailed reports from such an ardent lover of this distillery. Not that you are alone in loving Ardbeg whisky, of course.

So I have tasted this batch a few more times since I posted this review . . . and it has gone down hill. My last score was an 80! I have adjusted the score to take my entire experience of this bottle into consideration. My highest score was a 90 but the majority of the scores ended up in the mid 80s. This is without question my least favorite Ardbeg TEN batch . . . that I have tried to date.

@talexander

Over the next while, interspersed with other reviews, I'll be revisiting some standard, entry-level single malt expressions that I haven't written on before (but that I've mostly tasted in bars, at parties, etc). Many of you may find this exercise boring but I find it very interesting; it's always good to revisit an old friend (or nemesis) with fresh eyes (or a fresh palate, as the case may be). In this case, we have one of my favourites.

Ardbeg 10 Year Old as been part of their stable for a very long time, but the current variant came out in 2008, ten years after Glenmorangie acquired the distillery. In other words, Dr. Bill had full control over this spirit.

The colour is an extremely pale yellow, like very weak tea. On the nose there is a liquorice sweetness, with tart green apples, tar, damp campfire, lemon/lime, and lots of briny sea spray. More peaty and robust with a drop of water. The complexity of the sweet/peat combination is astounding, especially in an entry-level expression such as this. I could nose this forever.

On the palate, there is more brine but again, it is surprisingly sweet and malty. Pears, bandages, more lemon/lime. Dried grasses in a field. Sardines on saltines. White pepper and a touch of mint. Water brings about a creamier mouthfeel and a bit more peat and spice. Wonderfully delicious.

On the finish there are deeper spices, and low waves of rolling peat smoke. This may very well be the greatest of all entry-level single malts, with complexity, vibrancy and excitement. It's too bad it is so expensive - in Ontario this is $100! - but I suppose this is now a luxury product, since being acquired by LVMH. FYI this is a huge Jim Murray favourite, scoring 97 and winning World Whisky of the Year in 2008. Knowing each and every one of you has tried this scotch, I hope I haven't bored you too much!

I've had the same experience as @Nock, only I may be taking the absolute noobies through 15 to 25 whiskies of all types and national origins on their introductory run. Some individuals are "That's ok" through everything until they have some Uigeadail or Airigh Nam Beist (or Thomas Handy, or George T. Stagg). Then they come alive. I have never held to the idea that anyone needs to start with the lesser-flavoured stuff. No one need enter the whisky portal through anyone else's idea of "Entry Level". There is always a process of self-discovery in the actual doing of the tasting...and that's why people should go out and taste a lot of whisk(e)y rather than just talk about it. There is no substitute for the actual experience of drinking and sniffing the whisky. The more whisky experience, the better.

@Nozinan, I respect and understand your view point, but I very much disagree. I have hosted a number of tastings for non-whisky drinking friends where I take them through 4 or 5 single malts. I always try and have several "accessible" drams (Glen "whatever") and a sherry matured whisky, and I usually always end with a peaty guy (like Ardbeg 10yo, Lagavulin 16yo or Laphroaig Quarter Cask). And I am always shocked at how many people prefer the peaty beast at the end over everything else. Truly, that was not my personal experience. BUT many people find the peat to their liking at their first go-round. And where I live Ardbeg 10yo is only a few dollars more then Glenfiddich (and cheaper then many other so called "entry level scotches." So I will always include it in a lineup for a new-to-whisky drinkers. You never know what they are going to connect with.

@Pandemonium

I love Islay malt, my love for them is almost unconditional, than why do I not like this peaty monster? I'm still not sure why and will surely try another dram of the 10 yo in the near future to make sure it wasn't a just a bad batch. But all I can say so far that it was a disappointing experience that just burned in my mouth but little to no flavour to restore the balance.

Wow! You got an older bottle there. That was bottled on December 13th of 2007. Had it long? What is interesting about that particular bottle is that it would have been one of the very last batches of Ardbeg 10yo from before it was reopened in 1998. That means the whisky in your bottle was made between 1989-1996. So your bottle really contains liquid that at the youngest is 11 1/2 years old. And probably has older juice in it as well.

But here is the other thing. I am sure it was the tail end of stock left that Ardbeg could call "TEN years old." Six months after your bottle was filled the new whisky that had been distilled by the Glenmorangie owned Ardbeg was able to be sold as "Ardbeg TEN." I am not surprised you don't like your bottle. I am sure it had the very end of what Ardbeg deemed as "fit for use."

My advice is find another bottle and see what you think of the new Ardbeg. I love bottles from L11 194. I recently picked up a bottle from this year L13 003 and I really don't like it. (the L is the year the next three numbers are the day it was bottled).

Hope that helps

Can you tell me what the batch number is on your bottle? It is written in little white letters on the back and begins with an "L". So something like L13 004 16:23 6ML with those spacings. Sometimes there is a second group of white numbers that don't follow that pattern (those are for quality control). If you can figure out your "L-number" I can tell you what batch it was.

@MisterDigger

I tried this one at the bar and liked it enough to buy it the next day. I prefer Caol Ila 12 when compared to this one, because it has more flavor. Since I won't be buying this one again, I keep it on hand to spice up any future purchases that wind up being uneventful by adding only a few drops of this Ardbeg 10 (God forbid!!!). Adding any more than a few drops will just obliterate whatever is the main malt, trust me on this. This may be due to the relatively high alcohol contact, but not quite cask strength. I would imagine that a couple of drops of this added to Glenlivet 12 may really work well.

That is incredible! So yes, the shot that I ordered from the bar was what prompted me to buy a bottle the next day. However, I had to use a magnifying glass under direct light to be able to read those numbers. I am sure that the bartender would do that for me and also be thankful for the information, since he is more knowledgable than I on single malts. If I find the numbers from that bottle in the bar, I will let you know. As far as checking those numbers in a liquor store, all of our single malts in the USA are sold in gift boxes, so I would need to ask a clerk if it was okay to pull the bottle out. However, Bowmore 15 is now my new peated favorite, which is much darker and richer. So regardless of batch numbers, it does not look like I will be buying any more Ardbeg 10, and that bottle will be lasting quite a while to be used mainly for seasoning. I also don't see my liquor cabinet growing and everything in it is rated by me between 82 and 95, and does not really need any "seasoning".

I just lowered my score from 82 to 69, which falls under "repulsive". I have only had this bottle for about two months and very little was sampled from it. So, on the last dram I told myself that this tastes so bad that I could probably use it to kill an out of control Chinese fan palm in my yard. Sure enough, I poured the rest of this bottle onto the unruly plant, and several days later, the plant finally appeared to have died. So, if this stuff works better than Roundup for killing plants, why on earth would anyone want to drink it. This was my first and last try for Ardbeg. Sorry. (I did want to make the score lower than 69, but did not want to affect the overall rating for those who did not get a bad bottle.)

L

After the distillery being mothballed in 1983, this whisky here really shows what a long way they've come. This was my second Ardbeg after having had the privilege of tasting a 1993 single cask as my first 9 years ago. And it was glorious, the Ten year old i mean ;) Now i am revisiting this Islay gem.

Nose: A vanilla surge then swiftly followed by a creamy vanilla/peat burst that goes on and on. Seashores, seashells and salty seabursts rounds everything off with a strong (yet not imposing)Citrus in the background since the beggining till the end.

Palate: As with the nose it's the vanilla that makes the intro for the fanfare, although a sweeter vanilla, that then subsides by a more familiar creamy vanilla making leave for the creamy zesty peat that then caps out with smoke all over the tastebuds. Still Great this dram, oh Boy! The development is dominated by a complex creamy lemon and citrus note that grows more and more complex with peat, holding on alongside it, with the smoke. Rounding off with a finish or rather an "encore", or even "encore-fanfare" of sorts, with the vanilla, peat, citrus-lemon and this time with added peppers (lime-pepper?) don't know for sure, but what i do know is this that used to be such a good whisky, very much still is... just that. Great

@teebone673

Ardbeg 10. Not much intro needed so let's get into it.

Nose: Peat, Dish Soap, Lime, Salt, Creamed Corn

Palate: Big Peat, Sweet Smoke, Fairly Smooth and Oily, Orange Marmalade, Pepper Jack Cheese

Finish: Shorter than I expected. Peat, Orange Zest, Charcoal

I liked it. I didn't enjoy it as much as I enjoy Caol Ila 12, Lagavulin 12 or Lagavulin 16, but that's ok. A solid whisky that everyone should try at least once.

Comments (0)

They say that over time the quality of such heavily marketed malts goes down a little bit (in some cases a big bit, though). And in Russia this 10 year old Ardbeg costs like...$166, so I guess I'm not sure I wanna buy this one unless I find a miniature.

$166??? Wow. That's over 3 times the cost in my neck of the woods. Ardbeg 10 has many fans. I think it's good, not great, but I cant believe there are many that would pay $166 for it. Are all single malts that expensive in Russia or is it just Ardbeg?

@teebone673

Ardbeg 10. Not much intro needed so let's get into it.

Nose: Peat, Dish Soap, Lime, Salt, Creamed Corn

Palate: Big Peat, Sweet Smoke, Fairly Smooth and Oily, Orange Marmalade, Pepper Jack Cheese

Finish: Shorter than expected. Peat, Orange Zest, Charcoal.

I liked it. I didn't enjoy it as much as I enjoy Caol Ila 12, Lagavulin 12 or Lagavulin 16, but that's ok. A solid whisky that everyone should try at least once.

@hunggar

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.

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.

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.

@whiskyjourney

The Ardbeg 10 is an old friend that I have had a few bottles of over the years. It is one of those expressions that an Islay lover like me keeps around consistently in the cabinet. Partially because the pricetag is friendly enough that I can feel semi-comfortable putting it on a holiday gift list if/when someone asks.

I love my peat, and Ardbeg is never shy about it. This 10 Year is no exception. Most whiskies are chill-filtered and reduced to a strength of around 40% ABV. The Ardbeg Ten Years Old, however, is non chill-filtered and has a strength of 46% ABV.

The color of this Scotch is always surprising to me as it is so light. Even drinking it by candlelight, it is still bright like a white wine. Looks can be deceiving though…as this drink is no lightweight.

Nose: Peat and pungent smoke at first, a plume that needs to escape. The second whiff is where the ocean and sweetness come in. The sweet is tart like lemons. The briny oceanic tints nestle within the peat…think smoked salmon.

Palate: Sweet citrus up front, and crisp. Oily, with lots of seaweed and brine before the peat comes back for round two. The smoke is heavier this time, more tar-like. Somehow the whole experience is balanced and smooth despite the peat not being fully tamed.

Finish: Salty dryness. The finish is long, and the smoke smolders like a reluctant campfire that refuses to be snuffed out.

Conclusion

This is for a peat fan and I am an admitted member of the Ardbeg Committee, as I always have one on my shelf. Those that favor the sherried floral drams will likely be a little turned off at first. I always loved revisiting my Glencairn glass the next day with this one. I have intentionally left it out near the sink just so I can smell it the next morning, and the smokiness fills the kitchen. For an Islay fan I have to consider this one for the ‘bang for the buck’ list I will be putting together. But, I digress, the bottom line here is that it is spicy, sweet, and oh so smoky. If you can take a peaty punch in the chin, and can handle the distinctive Ardbeg smoke, you are going to like this one.

Very well written makes me want to buy one. A little biased because I fell in love with the Laphroaig 10 at first taste so I would love to acquire this one.

h

Peat and more peat plus a little smoke and some sweetness on the nose. Neat palate is peat, some sweetness, and a bit medicinal. Finish is peat and a little sweetness, quickly dominated by BandAids. The BandAid finish goes on for hours. I tasted it the next morning. Adding water increases the BandAid palate and finish. That was my experience. I admit to being a Islay newbie.

@Rantavahti

How can something be so good, yet so bad for you? Ardbeg 10 year old captures the true essence of whisky for you. Like many of the Ardbeg range, it gives you feelings of pure enjoyment in a tough palate. It's your real life Devil's Advocate.

Ardbeg 10 is like John Milton a.k.a the Beelsebub, played by Al Pacino. Giving you all you want but wanting something in return. And every time I drink Ardbeg 10, I don't mind giving something away. Whether it's my liver or my brain cells, just be my guest, take it!

I'd say that these two have similarities in acknowledgment too. Devil's Advocate got 7.4/10 pts in the Internet Movie Database, which is a good score in there. But I'd still say that it's not generally so highly appreciated. Ardbeg 10 got Jim Murray's 'Whisky of the Year' award in 2008 but based on reviews and my whisky friends thoughts, it's not as popular as some of the other Ardbegs.

Only thing that separates these two is that while The Devil's Advocate plot needed some heavy thinking, Ardbeg 10 is not that complex. It's a straight whisky, though it balances well between sweet and smoke. Just like Kevin Lomax (Keanu Reeves) balances between bad and good.

Nose: Starts with a touch of vanilla which introduces you to strong and heavy peat with citrus salt.

Taste: Just a great balance of sweetness and smoke. Vanilla is mixed with lemon and followed by heavy smoke.

Finish: Sea salted smoke with hints of caramel. And did I say it's long? Yes, loooong.

Balance: This is one of the best balanced whiskies I've tasted.

Characters eh? I assume you mean character development. That's interesting. Well, in all honesty, it's been a while since I"ve seen either film, or read the book. So I checked Rotten Tomatoes to see what the critics and the public thought about each respective piece of film making.

Angel Heart: Critics: 78, Audience: 78. Devil's Advocate: Critics: 66, Audience: 78. Guess the critics didn't like Devil's Advocate as much. I seem to recall it was more "Hollywood" than Angel Heart, which is kind of artsy, believe it or not, in a bit of a cheesy overwrought way. It cost Lisa Bonet her career due to some racy (and perverse) scenes and plot points. Jonathan Lemkin was the screen writer (original screenplay) of Devil's Advocate. His other screenplays? 21 Jump Street, Beverly Hills 90210, etc. Films? Showdown in Little Tokyo, Lethal Weapon 4, Red Planet, and Shooter, other than Devil's Advocate.

William Hjortsberg wrote the screenplay for Legend, aside form his novel, Falling Angel, upon which Angel Heart was based. The novel was adapted for the screen by "Sir" Alan William Parker, who directed Bugsy Malone, Fame, Pink Floyd's The Wall, The Commitments, Mississippi Burning, The Road to Wellville, Angela's Ashes, Shoot the Moon, and The Life of David Gale. I'm not sure why that filmography warranted being knighted, but this certainly gives me pause for thought (and a more critical examination in light of the effect those films have had on society). Falling Angel was no masterpiece, but it was creepy in a way that revealed a deeper occult side to the author than his screenplay career indicates. Frankly, it seemed genuinely evil, whereas Devil's Advocate seemed a bit fluffy to me, at least insofar as the devil in it was concerned. Personally, I don't believe in the devil, but I do think that the devil is symbolic for a very ancient occult belief system(s) that has been shaping and plaguing humanity for many thousands of years (certainly more than 6,000), and which seems to be swelling towards a crescendo of sorts these days. Certainly no "end of days" as such, but perhaps a dark annal in human history that will rival (and parallel) some in the past that have been lost, forgotten, or even obfuscated to some degree. One thing is statistically certain: the number of human murders (especially in wars, genocide, and other forms of mass killing) in the 20th Century adds up to more than the entire (known) collective history of mankind. I think that's worth pondering, don't you? I can't think of anymore more "devilish" than that.

At any rate, I totally appreciate your sentiments about younger scotches not always being less interesting or worthwhile. As a matter of fact, I've got a bottle of Laddie Ten in my safe that I might open tomorrow due to your comments. Now I'm really curious. Never tasted it before. Cheers, rigmorole

@rigmorole You have to try that Laddie Ten, I will try to add my review of it this week...I've given it a stunning 93 points, that's how much I loved it :) connosr.com/lists/284582/…

yeah, character development indeed, and artsy is the right word for Angel Heart. I agree that Angel Heart feels genuinely more evil than the Devil's Advocate but I think it has lots to do with the more "believable" story and location. In my opinion DA wins AH with much more interesting characters and better performances by the actors (even Keanu does well :), not so predictable plot twists and with that nice "twist" at the end that left me grinning with content.

@squidboy007

When I first tasted Ardbeg 10 it was with great expectations. I'm a huge fan of Laphroaig and Caol Ila, with both hail from Islay, like Ardbeg. I was correct in assuming Ardbeg 10 would have a similar heavy peat-smoke-fire smell and taste! It was the distinct Islay quality I had come to recognize. But compared to Laphroaig and Caol Ila, it felt noticeably weaker. I sipped a bit of Laphroaig directly after the Ardbeg, and found that indeed the Laphroaig was far more intense. This extra intensity of body may not be to everyone's liking, however! So if you like the Islay peat smoke, but don't really like the punch-you-in-the-face intensity, go with Ardbeg! It's still an amazing scotch, and more intense than most other single malts apart from the other Islays.

To me, Laphroaig and Ardbeg are more like apples and oranges. I like each of them when I am in the mood. Sometimes I feel drawn to Laphroaig almost like a craving, so I know what you mean. It doesn't happen often, but when it does, I want some. A month ago, I was driving home from work and I just had to get a glass, so I stopped at an Irish pub near my home since I didn't have a bottle at home. Normally, I never stop at a pub on the way home from work. I go home, eat, and usually drink a dram at home. When I go to a pub, it's usually later with friends.

As for Ardbeg, I also feel unaccountable memories of the taste of it, as if I had just drunk some, when I hadn't for days. The memory comes into my head very clearly, especially the "Ugie," but rather than being a craving, it's more like a powerful memory of that distinctive Ugie flavor and feeling of euphoria from a slight "Ugie buzz" that surfaces during moments of exhilaration. I don't feel the drive to go seek out a glass, as I sometimes do with Laphroaig, but I do enjoy the memory that hits me so directly and oddly. With Ardbeg, I've actually wondered if some strange drug is snuck into it. Of course, there isn't, but the thought has crossed my mind.

I've also wondered the same thing about a dinner of sushi, saki, and beer. That combination used to hit me hard once in a while to the point that I felt driven to go eat a sushi dinner. Strange, right? Yes, it's the sort of thing most people don't admit, but, heck, why not?

Nice review, squidboy. I don't get the same cravings/strong memories like that for Caol Ila, Lagavulin, or Bruichladdich. Not sure why. But I do very much like the other Islays, as well.

Thanks for the comments, very interesting. I get cravings for scotch, always, but I haven't found a single one that I need to keep having (although I have found that I almost always prefer Islay bottles.) Certainly the Laphroaig flavor is burned into my memory- no pun intended

@tjb

Ardbeg 10 is a much reviewed Whisky. I have no expectations on saying anything new or revolutionary.

The nose is soft yet full, Smokey, salty sea spray with a whiff of burnt bacon. There is a lemon undertone which is covered by a powerful peat aroma.

Your first taste brings strong Smoke, fruit, sweet spices with a smooth oily texture. This is a rich peaty punch with a sales caramel flavour. It has a long finish which leaves the tongue tingling and the mouth wanting more.

As an experience it is something you want to last. If you haven't tried it buy a bottle! Pound for pound this is a a serious contender. I can't think of anything for the same money that delivers such flavour, quality, complexity and class.

@abunadhMatada

After reading so many reviews, about how good this whisky is, I had to try it for myself. Upon opening the bottle strong smell of peat smacks my face and my wife's, who is 15ft away from me. She thought I brought in our Medicine box/container, which actually smells just like my Ardbeg 10. On the palate it is not as heavily peated as the nose would suggest. It is quiet nice,,, hints of orange peel, citrus notes, hint of toffee, and some kind of sweetness in the end. and of course loads of peat and smoke, iodine....

Overall I really enjoy this whisky. I guess my journey to Islay whisky started on the right foot. I also have an un-opend bottle of Uigeadail that im dying to try out

It was really interesting having this along side a dram of Laphroaig 10, because the Ardbeg has loads of smoke on the nose while the Laph has only a slight hint.. but then you take a sip and the Laph is all campfire and the Ardbeg's peat is almost on the backburner. No pun intended.

I think you hit the nail with this review. I have a glass of Ardbeg In hand as I type. I also think there is a zingy champagne fizzy quality to the finish.

R

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.

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.

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 :)

@MooreJerka

Standard-Arden som förmodligen är den bästa islayen i den kategorin.

(English translation below) Ok jag förstår, det vara bara ett sätt för dig att skriva ner några kommentarer på de whiskys du har. Då ber jag om ursäkt om jag var otrevlig i tonen. Och välkommen till connosr! (Jag är ganska ny själv). Vad jag skulle ha sagt istället för att bara klaga är att det är väldigt många som kommer hit för att läsa reviewer om whiskys de vill lära sig mer om, eller hjälpa andra genom att förklara nya saker om just den whiskyn. Men om reviewen bara är en mening på Svenska så blir det inte så mycket hjälp för varken läsaren eller skrivaren om man vill ha några kommentarer. Det är naturligtvis inget problem för mig personligen, men 99% av alla här kan inte ett ord Svenska så det kan nog upplevas frustrerande för dem (varför jag översätter nedan). Tänk själv om du är inne på en Svensk whisky sajt och folk börjar kommentera på Ryska. Så jag rekommenderar att skriva på engelska. Även om man bara kan lite engelska så är folk här vänliga och förstående, vi är många som inte har engelska som modersmål. Men skriv gärna mer för all del, och delta i de många intressanta diskussionerna här. Jag personligen tycker i alla fall att det är kul om mer Svenskar är med. Förlåt igen, och skål!

Oh, ok i see, it was just a way for you to write down a few notes on the whiskies you've got. I'm sorry if I came off rude (I did), and welcome to connosr! (I'm quite new my self) What I should've said instead of just complaining is that a lot of people come here to read reviews of whiskies they wanna learn more about, or help others by explaining/commenting stuff on that particular whisky. But if the review is only one sentence in Swedish it won't do much good for either the reader nor the writer. Of course it's not an issue for me personally, but 99% of people here won't understand a word of Swedish so it can probably feel frustrating for them (why I'll translate below). Imagine if you're on a Swedish site and people start commenting in Russian. So I recommend writing in English. Even if you don't know much English, people here are friendly and understanding, and there are many of us who aren't native speakers. But by all means, please keep writing and participate in the interesting discussions here. Me for one would gladly see more Swedes joining the community. Again, sorry, and cheers!

Gotta love these one-liner reviews in Swedish. At any rate, "89" speaks volumes in any tongue, even if this is computer generated spam advertising an art deco whore house made entirely from ice in Jokkmokk. I have no idea what this review says because I don't speak Swedish. All I know is that the two dots above the vowels when they appear over so many vowels are usually substitutes for the little circles that appear in the Swedish language. Or then again, I might be totally wrong. Is this Dutch? Nej! At any rate, it's good to see that the author (or computer program) likes Ardbeg 10, which I also like a great deal. . . .

@capaccioni

The most incredible thing of this whisky is its sea-salt nose. When I first opened the bottle I spent an half hour smelling the cork, adsorbing that beatiful smell of enraged sea, feeling as I was there on top of a lighthouse looking out towards the ocean on a stormy day. The score given just reflect the fact that I didn't yet taste more exclusive Ardbeg bottles which I expect will considerably improve my experience

@NickVerstijlen

I just've started my journey into the wonderous world of whisky. The better whiskies that is. The whiskies that I'm known with, are Vat 69, Glennfiddisch 12 y.o., Jack Daniels, Johnny Walker Green Label and I recently purchased the very nice Auchentoshan Three Wood, which I really enjoy. But since I only have the Three Wood in my cabinet, I decided to go to my local whiskyshop, to purchase the Ardbeg 10 y.o. because of the fantastic reviews it gets on Whisky Connosr, and I wanted to try something different besides the Three Wood.

And boy, do I regret my purchase. Let me tell you why:

The Nose: This is where it started. When I poured myself a glass, the aroma of bandaids, jodium, medicinal stuff entered my nose. And shivres ran across my spine. I absolutely don't like this welcome-commitee. But when I got used to the smell, I started to smell things like thick black smoke, and burned wood. Also not very pleasant to me.

The Pallet: All those things I just mentioned, came back with a vengeance. The very high peat-levels in this whisky is something you love or you hate. Maybe it is something you must learn to drink, and something I can enjoy when I am a somewhat more experienced whisky-lover, but for now I found it to be an awfull taste.

The finish: This was actually pretty long. And when the medicinal taste was gone, it started to taste somewhat like when you have smoked a cigarette. But since I don't smoke (have tried it a couple of times in the past when I was younger) this definitely wasn't my cup of tea either.

I am going to keep this bottle in my cabinet untill the day comes, when I can appreciate a highly peated whisky like this one. For now, my search for great whiskies I love continues...

I will keep the bottle to try it again after some time. When I've gotten used to the heavy peated kind of whisky. When that day has come, I will review it again, and we will see if my taste has changed... ;-)

Trust me, @NickVerstijlen, you're not the only who feels this way: the Ardbeg 10 is also too aggressively smokey for me. The morning after, all I could taste was smoke and ash; it wasn't good. And it isn't that I need more experience with peated malts, as I find the Laphroaig QC, Lagavulin 16, and Compass Box Peat Monster far more balanced and nuanced than the Ardbeg.

l

taken from furtias.blogspot.com.es/2012/12/…

Aged for ten years in Bourbon casks and bottled at 46%ABV.

TASTING NOTES

Color: Straw.

Nose: Peaty, smoky and coastal. Very "Ardbeg". Seaweed, iodine, soil, seashells, cider, pepper.

Taste: Powerful and medicinal. Sweeter at first (malty sweetness in fact), then moody. Seawater, seaweeds, burning peat's smoke and some lemon.

Finish: Long,medicinal and warming with lots of smoke and iodine. Totally inside a stereotypical Ardbeg's boundaries.

@Bryvsspy

Being a whisky noob I haven't had many opportunities to try different whiskies. Out of those that I've sampled, I found that I enjoyed more the delicate and rich whiskies than the smoky/peated whiskies. I received this bottle as a Christmas present from my father and was worried that it would go to waste seeing that it didn't fit my taste profile. What a surprise, I really enjoyed this! Although it has a heavy peated taste, I found it to be balanced and enjoyable on the palate. I found myself refilling my glass more than once on my first sampling! I thoroughly enjoy Ralfy.com's reviews and as Ralfy said, a peat smoke bomb, like sticking your head in a bonfire! I agree and it just goes to show you, even when your convinced something is not for you, go ahead and try it anyways, you just might find out something new about yourself! Enjoy fellow Malt Monsters ;)

m

Ardbeg has a reputation of being a very peaty Whisky and one of the finest representations of Islay style single malts. What I would say distinguishes Ardbeg from other Islay Malts is it's well balanced structure. It is a Whisky that perfectly balances strong Islay character with other more soothing notes. It is complex, while delivering just enough intensity to be enjoyable and not overbearing. The Ardbeg 10 y.o. is a perfect example of such a perfectly balanced profile.

Nose: Phenolic tones, peaty, earthy, tones. The nose has brine, sea salt, lots of smoke, burning wood (a bonfire), charcoal, iodine, sea spray, petrol. All these are strong smells but then it also has more gentle notes of lemon zest, orange rinds, roasted coffee, butter, and cream. If you add a cooling Whisky stone you get more intense butter, fresh bread, and bread dough.

Palate: Cream followed by peat and peppers, smoke, clove, sea weed, citrus. Big body, heavy, and thick. The peaty peppers are quite a lasting presence on the palate but they do eventually fade. Once this happens the previously mentioned flavors return.

Finish: Oily all the way through a long finish. Very smokey, butter, bitter herbal tea. The charcoal is very prominent in the finish. Very slight heat showing up once in awhile from sip to sip.

Overall, I enjoy the contrasting smells on the nose and the appearance of very strong tastes of peaty and peppers in the palate that are contrasted by cream and butter. The contrasting nose and taste make this Whisky interesting and complex. They balance beautifully instead of conflicting with each other. This in my opinion, is what makes Ardbeg a complex and well balanced Whisky. Two seemingly contradictory smells and flavors that balance each other out instead of compete with each other. Very nice dram.

@PMessinger
@MaltActivist

How can one distillery go through, what is fundamentally, the same process and produce expressions that are miles ahead of everyone else?

The standard Ardbeg 10 is anything but. Like a young savant it hides the most complex of personalities yet remains buoyantly youthful. As the tangy smoke rises from delicately grilled lemon zest roasting on the grill the chef brushes the main course of sausages with his own brand of special butter glaze. The sweetened smoky peat, mixed with a touch of tincture, remind you where this savant was born.

The palate is like eating a soft pudding under a haze of powdery volcanic ash. I never thought words like tar, soot and tobacco could be used to describe something so utterly scrumptious but then I've been proven wrong many a time. A juicy, brightly colored orange kicks in at the last instant re-affirming the massive complexities that lie in this delivery.

Smoked bitter gourd, a touch of medicine, tiny oak shavings and a toss of minty leaves finishes up one of the nicest and longest deliveries that have ever had the pleasure of cascading down my fortunate gullet.

@WhiskyBee

When I was beginning to explore the single-malt world, I hadn't yet worked my way up to the Peat Giants of Islay when I was introduced by a friend to Ardbeg. Yikes! My first impression was that of a dead pine forest slathered with a layer of Vicks Vapo Rub.

But, as they say, it's like hot peppers: at first you gag, then you learn to appreciate the experience, then you love the taste. Even if, just as with the peppers, you still gag occasionally.

I'd never start the evening with Ardbeg, but I love this big, gutsy whisky. Can't believe I haven't tried the Uigeadail yet, but I plan to invest in a bottle when my supply of 10 yo gets down to a few drams.

Thanks @systemdown for the comment on one of my first (and worst) reviews. I know I ramble on in my later ones, but at least I provide some detailed tasting notes. I may submit another Ardbeg 10 review (with the same score) down the road, or I may expand my thoughts on the 10 yo if and when I do a review of the Uigeadail. Only two Ardbegs I've tried so far, and I love 'em both. I'm a bit reluctant to delve further into Ardbeg, however. I get the impression they're releasing a lot of B-level whiskies at A-plus prices...although opinions seem to be all over the place on this matter.

Well...I'm not that tough of a grader! ;) Uigeadail is a 96 in my gradebook, and that's as close as I've come to an A-plusser! Yeah, I like it a tiny bit more than the 10yo -- a point's worth. Tastes like a powerhouse version of the 10 to me, but that's not a bad thing.

I'm only going by others' opinions, but there seems to be a consensus that Ardbeg keeps cranking out the various expressions that, while good, aren't good enough to justify the high prices. I'd be more than happy to share my thoughts on the matter if anyone would like to send me some free samples!

@McGrain

This whisky just flat out reminds me of my grandfather. He was a crofter and a peat cutter. I've tried this before and wasn't reminded of him at all but now i can't shake it...strange.

Nose: Fresh cut peat, some pipe-smoke; fascinating how the peat and the pipe-smoke can seem so distinct.There seems to be oranges in there too.

Mouth: Peaty like half-burnt clods, peat that went onto the fire late and didn't take properly. Now you're taking it off the day after. Behind that is all sorts maybe even chocolate liquorice? Citrus hints again. One or two pleasing burnt notes. Burnt bacon?

After: Give up all that violence to a mild, warming finish. It's beyond all belief that such an aggressive whisky should end so politely.

A masterpiece.

That's the baby that finally turned me onto Islay whisky about 5 years ago. Glad you enjoyed it, nice review.

@Jahjehwa

First bottle of Islay, reviewing after having it a week and and a dozen drams. Love the bottle, screams "I am Scotch! drink me!" Color is very pale and heavy. Nose: First sweet brine, salted nuts, butter-cream, malt and a little pear. Very pleasing Taste: As soon as it hits the tongue sweet butter-cream up front turning into a smooth, smokey peat and dry salt water with pepper keeping some sweetness from the butter-cream the whole way through. Complexity: You could try to pinpoint flavors all day, each time I have had this a taste other characters and depth. Finish: Very smooth, much smoother than you think its going to be, leaving a pleasant, creamy, smokey brine flavor that is dry making you want more.

@SquidgyAsh

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

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!

: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

J

Nose: Creamy smokiness, zesty tang of lemon and limes, earthiness, strong peat, slight saltiness.

Palate: Oily, buttermilk, strong expresso milk coffee, burnt toast, peat and smoke builds, keeps a creaminess, slight notes of dried pears and banana, some spices of cinnamon and nutmeg.

Finish: smoky earthiness, milky coffee, slight roasted nuttiness and roasted maltyness, soft peatyness.

@Oogy

This review isn't going to focus on the particular flavours or aromas of Ardbeg. No. This is more than that, this is about how a great whisky can make you feel....

To add some context, yesterday I had a massive meeting with work. A huge meeting. Since starting my new job, the last couple of months had been building up to this one moment (well three long hours of moments). Anyway, it went well. My bosses took me straight out for a couple of pints. After that, I'd got the taste.

There was nothing I wanted to do more than pick up a paper and settle down in one of my favourite bars in Manchester's Northern Quarter (Common for the initiated). When at the bar ordering my second pint there and a bite to eat, like a shining beacon I noticed the Ardbeg 10 on their top shelf. That was it, I was all over it like a bad rash.

Now, obviously I've had Ardbeg 10 before on many occasions and, as a rule, I prefer the Uigeadail. It just has more complexity and variety on the palate, with the added punch of being at cask strength. But in this moment, in this setting, in this mood....I've never had anything better in my mouth than that Ardbeg 10.

Wow. Thank you Ardbeg. I love you.

Hi Steve,

Yes, the Ardbeg 10 is a powerful brute but relatively restrained compaired with the massive cask strength Corryvreckan and the recently aquired Ardbeg Day. Uigeadail on the other hand is just perfectly balanced. No other whisky I have tried so perfectly nestles between the peat and smoke and the sweet and smooth. Every mouthful is like you've got 3 or 4 different drams dependent upon whether its just entered the fray, been in your mouth a moment or is sliding down your throat. Its spectacular. Well worth trying!

I love this Scotch...it is, however, like sipping a smoked glass of sea water next to a bonfire of beachwood at the ocean :)...you get the idea. I found this to be very "peaty"...yet not a ton of iodine like some others. I have not yet tried the Uigeadail, how would you compare the two?

@luckyshot

This is one of the first single malts i have ever tasted. I love all ardbegs, creamy and oily with a straw like color and a taste of the ocean.

Nose: some smoke, some burnt wood, rubber notes- reminds me of band aids on the nose! a little hint of pear and apple. faint notes of pineapple too. i could smell the ocean on this one.

Palate: salty, smoke turkey bacon with a medicinal character i cannot fully describe but very enjoyable. yummy clams and oyster's I"m getting hungry here. oh yeah tar and pencil like flavors.

Finish: Very long and dry, mouth coating. it leaves a long lasting tingle in the mouth, even a sip of lager beer could not flush away this big islay malt. it hangs in there long and strong! lovely.

Great review. Smoky and burnt wood is what I am looking for, I must add this to my wish list .

Great review. Smoky and burnt wood is what I am looking for, I must add this to my wish list .

@Zanaspus

Does the world really need more reviews of popular young whisky? Definitely not, but I need practice writing reviews so I suppose you'll have to suffer through it. And, this being my first review, please be gentle.

Nose: Iodine (called "medicine" by some) is the immediate full on aroma. Then follows earth, smoke, and sea spray. One has to work a bit at getting more, but below the surface is the sweet bit with papaya, pineapple, and sweet vanilla all making cameos.

Palate: Much like the nose with Iodine, smoke, salt, a bit of white pepper, and vanilla.

Body: Quite thick on the tongue. Not exactly oily, but one respects the fact that this is nowhere close to thin.

Finish: This is the star of the show. Very long. Iodine is certainly present along with a bit of smoke and an ever so faint reminder of sugar. But the best part of the dram follows as one spends the evening dramming it up, slowly, inexorably, the finish turns to full on white sugar with the Iodine taking second fiddle. I am reminded of my childhood when I had numerous bouts with strep throat. My mother would take a spoon of sugar and sprinkle it with a few drops of Balsam de Malta. For those too young to remember, this stuff was horrid, but as time went on the terrible taste faded, and all I was left with was sweetness in the mouth. Such is an evening with this whisky. I think anyone who simply "tastes" it would highly undervalue the component never gotten to.

So there it is. Forgive me if my nose and palate do not pick up things as a pro would, but having said that, I recently read a review by Serge where he mentioned mustard seed as an aromatic component. I've been around mustard seed a lot. It is absolutely odorless.

@Zanaspus As a lover of this whisky, the more positive reviews, the better.

Thanks Michael. Apparently Serge is a lurker here. Notice the comment on mustard in today's piece. This is why I like Serge. He's not stuffy, is a lot of fun, and not too serious about critiques.

@GlassBottle

Nose: Obviously peaty and underpinned with bonfire smoke. A depth of oil and tar with a raw grassy/hay tinge. Above this floats a nuttiness and scents of dried fruit and candied peel, maybe marmalade and vanilla. All this rambling can basically be summed up by saying that this is really complex nose.

Palate: More peat and smoke, but it refuses to overwhelm. All sorts going on here with an exciting tang, saltiness and peppery spice; good depth and complexity that keeps you coming back.

Finish: after the relative intensity of the whisky so far, the finish is a deliciously calm postlude of warming smoke. The transition from mid-palate to finish is fantastic.

Generally very good; but this whisky gets such rave reviews that maybe my expectations of it were too high and it didn't blow my socks off the way I thought it would...there are other peaty whiskies that I prefer, but this is really very good.

@Vinodiuz

The standard Ardbeg the 'King of Peat', the 10 years old. After I tried, his fresher brother the 'Blasda' I want more Ardbeg, so I send here my review of the wonderful Ardbeg 10 yo.

Nose: Strongly wonderful peat with great smokey elements, a fantastic palate of citrus fruits and a good background fragrance of milky Belgian chocolate bonbons.

Taste: With a little splash of water, it is just a pleasant and a joy to take a sip of this Godly Scottisch Spirit, lightly smoky, heavenly peat, citrus/lemon fruits and a light taste of sweet enjoyment. Chocolate, and a good strongly delightfull coffee aftertaste...

Finish: Long, devine lightly milk chocolate, espresso coffee, with pear and apple fruit...Still the great peat is on the background.

Just a few words from me....Fabulous, Gorgeous, Wonderful, Devine and Superb!!!

Totally HIGHLY Recommended. Surely for Peat-Lovers!

@MrAnon12345

This is a very funny scotch. Incredibly powerful peat and smoke notes, and an oily mouth feel with a smoky finish. But what's interesting about it is that's all there is. As far as flavor profile is concerned, it's pretty thin.

After that lead-in, you might think my overall review would be negative, but it's not. This is a really nice bottle, as long as you know what you're getting yourself into (it falls in the same category as the Macallan Cask Strength in that regard). If you're looking for a heavy load of really great peat flavor, this is a fantastic scotch. And the Ardbeg does it better than many others -- it manages not to be either overwrought, abrasive, or too strong. You can find other Islays (my favorite being the Lagavulin 16yo) that can bring more to the table than the Ardbeg 10yo -- a richer flavor profile, more going on than just peat, salt, and smoke. But you don't have to, and there are many times where a glass of this is exactly what I have in mind.

@Dellnola

Nose: Immediate peat and sea water, medicinal qualities of course, fried applewood bacon, juicy lemon, sage and browned butter. There's also some grapefruit and blackberries that save this from being too one-dimensional. Water brings out some floral notes.

Taste: Warming with burning wood, salt and lime, sea water. Not as peaty as the nose suggests, but of course, still present. It has a wonderfully buttery mouthfeel.

Finish: Smoke, bitter citrus, herbal qualities and plenty of peat.

This is certainly a classic example of Islay and Ardbeg, however, I wish the peat had a bit more impact on the palate. My favorite is those tart, fruity notes on the nose that mingle with the smoke and peat. Also, compared with the high strength Uigeadail, Corryvrecken, and Alligator, the 10 year old lacks a little on the delivery. No matter though, still wonderful.

@Carl

My first review in a long time. The palate always surprises: been off whisky for months, particularly Islay smokey, peat flavoured whiskies. Recently, with the advent of autumn, Irish and Scotch whiskies have come back into my world. I started drinking scotch again, with the Johnnie Walker Green, then the Bowmore, which gave me a subtle introduction to Islay malts again. Tonight, I ventured out to my favourite pub for a couple of drinks and dinner. I had a nice Redbreast before I left. At the pub, I noticed they had a bottle of Ardbeg, so I decided to finally give it a try. The nose is particularly smoke and peat, and I thought: "Here I go with the Laphroaig experience again. I shared the nose of the whisky with the waiter, a great fellow who's company I have come to enjoy a lot. His description was "Like and old leather purse." I nosed it again and, yes, the old leather smell came through, along with vast amounts of peat and smoke, at least to me. Then...the first sip, and I was hooked. The smoke and peat rapidly turned into a wonderfully smooth sweetness, with a wonderful, subtle overtone of peat and smoke. Then, the finish: an almost peppery, spicey burn in my mouth, sweet and also dry at the same time. It made me crave more! I had a second double with my meal, and told my friend that I was going to get a bottle after dinner. Which I did, and now I am enjoying in the comfort of home, Sorry to ramble on, but you haven't heard from me in a long time, and I simple cannot say enough about this wonderful stuff. Easily the most interesting whisky I have ever tasted. The big surprise is, that I can keep on drinking it. Most other whiskies, I need to stop at two or three. This is almost a whisky that, if somebody asked me "What would be your dream scotch whisky or single malt?", I would come up with the answer "A blend of super smooth Highland blended with a peatie, smokey Islay." It is not particularly thick and syrupy, and is a very light, straw-like colour, normally the opposite of what I really like. My favourite single malt to this point, has been either the Glendronach 12 year or the Glengoyne 10 year which, I might add, is triple distilled for a wonderful smoothness. If I had taken the Glengoyne and the Laphroaig and blended them myself, the Ardbeg is possibly what I might have hoped to achieve. The big Surprise is that, in fact, it is a lot better than what I could ever have imagined! Cheers, Carl

Great review. I am a fan of Laphroaig and QC is my favourite expression. This review contributed to me ordering a bottle of the Ardbeg 10YO. It should arrive just before I go on holiday so I have something to look forward to upon my return.

@cclward

Smell : grassy almost floral , reminds me of a meadow in the morning over looking the sea. The waves of salt spray whisping of sweet pungent spice.

Colour : Pale golden straw

Taste: A brief second of delicate light floral lemon grass flavour then growing in complexity of smoke , sweet , salty , oily goodness. The smoke bellows in waves over the thick rich mouth feel.

Finish : A pleasing spicy finish of sea salt and black pepper. Again sweetness almost like eating burnt cotton candy while walking along beach rocks This is where the barrel comes through with wood and spice

Overall , Simply wonderful , A Classic expression.

@jvhemert

Ardbeg 10 has this softness to it not found in many Islays. It also balances the smokiness perfectly against all the many aromes, not making it overpowering on the nose.

This succinct review, like this specific whisky, is pregnant with promise because of what it doesn't say!

The review description of "softness" is definitely apposite. This is a whisky to flaunt its multi-faceted favours (that is not a mis-spelling) before you even taste it! I poured a measure in my Glencairn glass and couldn't stop passing it, wafting it, beneath my nose - every time I did so, this precocious whisky flaunted its various favours before me! Per the review, smokiness, yes. Not absent, but not 'in your face' either. Not so much subtle, as 'present'. The sea-spray infiltrating that smokiness too. I was on the beach before a wood fire.

The citrus smells - lemon and lime? I go along with that. Lifting, refreshing. But part of the whole: the whole not being subsumed to the citrus or the smoke or the sea-spray saltiness.

A third waft below the nose - now a refined smokiness. No longer just a wood smokiness, but What type of wood?, What state of dryness of the wood? No answers, I'm afraid, but, as said, pregnant with promise.

I am not sufficiently familiar with tasting quality whisky, but, Oh my Goodness!, how the flavour lingers long after the mouthful is swallowed. Savour the flavour! Even trying to neutralize the palate with a good mouthful of beer does not rid the after-taste. There are some after-tastes I like (such as this one) - and some which I find distinctly off-putting (like apple juice).

I have much to learn (and, unfortunately for me, I am such a s-l-o-w learner - you need to instruct me three, four, five or even more times before it sinks in!), but this whisky is definitely one which I will use a 'standard' against which to measure others of the ilk.

Thanks for your review - it helped me better appreciate this delightful escapade with this wanton siren flaunting (but not with abandonment) her hidden depths.

What else do you like?

@wylcx

I agree with ironlion27. This is the worst whisky I have ever tasted.

Looks like it wasn't a bad bottle. Here's the reply from Ardbeg:

Dear Adrian,

Many thanks for your email and apologies for the delay in responding to you.

We're sorry that you were disappointed with your bottle of Ardbeg.

Many malt whiskies which originate from the island of Islay intend to have quite distinguishable and distinctive sensory characteristics. For example you may pick up on either nose or palette flavour characteristics of peat, smoke, salt, iodine and medicinal notes. Mouth feel sensations can be drying, and astringency may also be noted.

We would expect such characteristics from our Ardbeg products, it can be common for consumers to recognise the naturally occurring flavour components, which can be described as medicinal or even “TCP”.

Like all products, the individual sensory attributes of this, is subject to the personal preference of the consumer.

We hope this has helped in answering your enquiry, should you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact me.

Kind Regards Laura

I, like many I suppose, was no less than baffled by your review Wylcx, and I´m afraid I´d have to agree with Dellnola´s train of thought... I don´t know how long you´ve been tasting whisky and which are your favourites, but the Islays are specific. The Lagavulin 16Y for instance is even more peaty / medicinal... And I admit that my first glass of Islay malt wasn´t an easy one to enjoy, but don´t give up or despair, often, people say that whisky´s an acquiered taste... an Islay even more so...

@GT2

The pour looks like white grape juice...extremely pale SRM and very clear. A nice swirl give you slowly cascading, thin legs. Aroma is really out of sight and quite the treat for smokeheads out there. Peat and iodine are restrained in comparison to baked and smoked brisket. Rich potpourri florals and sweet grapefruit cut any savory meatiness or fattiness. No formaldehyde or over the top smoke attributes. Lots of bacon grease, lavender, rich alcohol heaviness and soft booziness. Taste is not so smoke heavy with mild peat and sharp iodine. Lots of mild and warming alcohol spice are complimented by lavender and bitter grapefruit, smoked meat, spicy sausage, chamomile. Very soft on the palate with a long stinging finish but no "heat" or excessive warming alcohol. Pretty much zero oak component- which is a godsend. Outstanding. Can't wait to try some special edition versions.

I'd say bad bottle because I am usually not a big Scotch fan and I think this is really awesome stuff. Sharp brine and bacon in the nose. Pretty meaty smelling. Taste can be sharp but not astringent and not a long of "burn" or acid like antiseptic or chemical. I can see chemical off flavors for some Islay scotch but I think you may want to return the bottle. If not, you can let the bottle sit out with the cork OFF and let it oxidize and bit and open up. After a month or so the chemical flavors may die down.

Maybe I had a dud bottle as it was the worst whisky I have ever tasted. It was like TCP or toilet cleaner. However the packaging looks really nice.

@TheNordin

At a whisky tasting at my friend's home, I tasted the Bowmore Surf and Enigma. I couldn't stand the smokey taste of them. When I read the Bowmore reviews, I knew I had to learn to appreciate the Islay taste and I decided to buy a bottle of Ardbeg.

After the first 3 drams, I was surprised by the explosion of taste and the balance of the Ardbeg.

Nose: Lots of smoke here. I took me a while to discover the hint of lemon coming through.

Taste: The taste is the complete opposite of the nose; Strong citrus, salt, some sweet vanilla and little smoke.

Finish: A nice, very long finish. The smoke returns here accompanied by anise.

This is a fabulous 10yo and very hard to beat... looking forward to next winter

I also like it this summer. The citrus works just fine on a warm summer evening!

@dbk

Ardbeg is a wee Islay distillery that has risen to near legendary status, thanks in no small part to claims like this one of Jim Murray’s: “Unquestionably, the greatest distillery to be found on Earth.” (No hyperbole there, I’m sure.) To many, their 10 year-old is a benchmark peated malt Scotch whisky; much like the Lagavulin 16 year-old, the Ardbeg TEN helps to define the genre of the peated, coastal malt. It is not chill-filtered and bottled at 46% ABV. According to the label, this imparts “MAXIMUM FLAVOUR”—and we Connosrs well know that whisky never benefits from being bottled above this strength.

The nose is smoked kippers, iodine, cracked pepper, anise, and citrus fruits—most notably lime. There are also hints of clove, orange peel, cocoa, apples, and the merest hint of sulfur. (As an aside, I poured this dram at a tasting some weeks ago. The restaurant staff working in the kitchen and other areas of the restaurant noted the odorous wall of peat that greeted them when they walked into the room. One server claimed he thought he had walked into a distillery.)

The palate is damp smoke, vanilla, salt, and smoked kippers, with a touch of citrus, anise, and tar. Limes appear on the finish before giving way to chilis.

The Ardbeg TEN is a lovely dram. Sophisticated, complex, and more than just a study in peat.

Very nice review. I love the first paragraph :).

@Rosal

I tasted this one over the weekend. Not a fan of the peated whiskies, but this one I could get use to.

Nose: This one can fill a room with the smell of a camp fire. Good strong smoke scent.

Taste: Very rich and full flavor with smoke and peat. There is a hint of sea salt. I was expecting a taste of iodine, but to my surprise, very little.

Finish: Long finish. The layers of flavor could almost last the whole night.

a

the king of smoke. very smoky, peaty, iodine, medicinal. this is a very tasty scotch. hardwood smoke, peppercorn and anise. you must like smoky, peaty scotches to adore this one.

ArdbeG is the daddy of all whisky (fact)

C

Well this is my tuppence worth on the Ardbeg 10. this afternoon I had a nice session with my neighbor which involved a Chivas 12, an Ardbeg 10, and a 21 y.o Glenfiddich.

Powerful, slightly woody and lending a strong backing to peat on the nose.

the body Packs a nice little punch with an altogether smooth, well rounded and significant tinge of salt and peat. Smokey on the uptake, yet not overly medicinal or ashy.

An easy, warm, smoky and considerate finish with a lingering sense of contentment.

Overall impression: This is a great drop with distinct Islay qualities, leaving you with a warm feeling and an overall sense of appreciation for the Ardbeg line in general. Doesn't break the bank and marries up well well with a Montecristo 4. A well chosen 10.

An 89 from me.

I think this is a superb whisky which shouldn't be overlooked amongst Ardbeg's other celebrity whiskies.

I couldn't agree more Lefrog :)

@tabendar

Founded in 1815 in the Islay region and currently owned by Glenmorangie. Two fingers with one cube of ice. Very full-bodied. Extremely peaty and almost pungent with a overall medicinal taste. Very spicy but tolerable. Must buy for peat lovers.

Everybody enjoys whisky in his or her own way and that's fine by me. Well, with one major exception: people who put ice in their whisky. This is, in my humble opinion, not only stupid - it's an awful waste. Ice not only ruins the structure of a malt whisky on the palate, you'll lose at least three quarters of the magnificent fragrances as well.

maltmadness.com/malt-whisky/…

@sevac A little harsh man.

@Macdeffe
@rwbenjey

Like the Corryvreckan, this has a smoky sweet nose and the scotch envelopes the tongue on contact. Salt enters after the sweetness, and the finish is very fresh and vegetal.

I like the Corryvreckan as well, but this has a slight edge for me and costs a lot less.

@Anonymous

This is a well-reviewed scotch, so I'm not pretending that I'll really add anything of consequence here other than recording my thoughts for my own benefit.

I'm confused as to how to rate this scotch. It only does one thing -- peat -- which ought to count against it. But it does that one thing very, very well. If you want a glass of peat-smoke with some strong, raw malt (cut this with some water!), this is your scotch. So I've got no choice but to give this a nice middling six.

Had a bottle of this sitting around for ages - too many other bottles to finish off, but tempted to break it open and do another re-tasting on it...

g

After my first sip, I thought "this is bad"... after two more sips, I was thinking "this is the best whisky I ever tasted". I like the taste of the peat.

@markjedi1

Ardbeg hardly needs any kind of intro, but just for completeness’ sake, I’ll just say this. Ardbeg is famous for it’s very peated malts and hails from Islay. They are considered by many whisky aficionados to be among the best whiskies in the world.

This classic 10 Year Old is non chill filtered and bottled at 46% ABV.

While I’m still admiring the strawlike color, the scent of peat already permeates the air. It’s dominant, but after a couple of whiffs you can also discover grassy notes and burnt rubber – even a little bit of overripe banana.

Putting the Kleenex next to me for my first gulp was somewhat premature. Sure, it’s a peated dram, but it doesn’t burn. It’s very herbal and leaves you with a lingering warmth.

That warmth remains during the intense and long spicy finish.

Yes, this is classic Ardbeg and should be considered essential to every whiskylover’s cabinet.

I think that "Best in the World" is meaningless. Most individuals would be hard-pressed to name the one single whisky that they personally prefer. So, how could one make a judgement that is meant to apply to the entire world of whisky lovers ?

Heh, "bananas" has become my comedy tasting flavour. I'm sure I get it in various whiskies, but nobody believes me. Thanks for colluding ;)

@ironlion27

This is the WORST whiskey I have ever tasted...it made me commit one of the 2 deadly sins of the whiskey world...I poured out a glass of this stuff. The other deadly sin being of course adding more than 2 ice cubes ;) I had to double check across the interweb to make sure that I hadn't been scammed and had accidentally ingested a rotten bottle (if alcohol can rot?) By far the worst drink, much less whiskey, I have ever drank.

Aroma of Windex...taste of Windex...DISGUSTING!

@lucadabba1985

I contacted Ardbeg about the 10 yr old and here's their response:

Dear Adrian,

Many thanks for your email and apologies for the delay in responding to you.

We're sorry that you were disappointed with your bottle of Ardbeg.

Many malt whiskies which originate from the island of Islay intend to have quite distinguishable and distinctive sensory characteristics. For example you may pick up on either nose or palette flavour characteristics of peat, smoke, salt, iodine and medicinal notes. Mouth feel sensations can be drying, and astringency may also be noted.

We would expect such characteristics from our Ardbeg products, it can be common for consumers to recognise the naturally occurring flavour components, which can be described as medicinal or even “TCP”.

Like all products, the individual sensory attributes of this, is subject to the personal preference of the consumer.

We hope this has helped in answering your enquiry, should you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact me.

Kind Regards Laura

I almost feel jelous of someone working their way up to the Ardbegs and Lagavulins. Its where I started, and there doesnt seem to be anywhere to go from there, on a smoky/peaty front. I do get to do lots of experimenting as I move in the other direction tho!

@I_SPEY

Nose powerful - peat, salt and iodine, the smell is very balanced and warm. Citrus, floral notes and vanilla sweetness.
Taste peaty, smoky, salty, slightly medicinal, spicy warmth with a tantalising hint of sweetness , complex, but in a good way, and extremely balanced.
Finish Warm, long, smoky and brillant! Comments A great dram.

@brett

Immediately peaty with a touch of smoke blooms into puckering and weaze. Reminder of Glenfiddich without the honey, drier, and peatier. Spiney on the tongue and a taste that rolls away before the feeling does.

I hadn't noticed the similarities with some of the younger Glenfiddich's - but now that you mention it, I do see the similarities. Good review.

Yeah specifically the 12 year Fiddich feels very similar at first. 15 and 18 have a lot more honey, caramel, and less rasp. Perhaps it's just something about the young ones?

@Anonymous

I tried some Islay whiskies when I first got into malts and I'm not embarrassed to admit I found them a little aggressive on the peat. Whilst Ardbeg wasn't one of them, I mention it because I recently decided to dip my toe back into the Islay waters. I bought this and a bottle of Laphroaig 10 year old (also reviewed) for starters.

The good news is my taste buds have grown up and are now more than ready! To my surprise flavours I may previously have written off as being too full-on revealed themselves in potent and yet somehow subtle layers of complexity.

Ardbeg 10 has the expected hit of smokey peat but this is balanced by a lovely sweetness giving way to a salty finish. The overall combination of flavours is truly delicious, well balanced and rewarding.

I haven't been to Islay but I felt breathing in the wind coming off the sea would feel like this.This whisky has a sense of place.

I love it and I can't wait to delve deeper into the Ardbeg range.

Only 7.5 points? Shame on you ;-)

Yeah, the big strong peaty whiskies are difficult to deal with for many when you start out. But when you come back to them after trying several other whiskies, it all starts to fall into place...

@benellefsen

Nose - Big hit of peat, Medicinal (more so than bottlings of a few years ago), Iodine, Chlorine, Smoky Bacon, Frazzles (corn-based bacon flavoured snack), slightly sweet, Lemon-Drizzle Cake, Peppermint right on the death?

Palate - Creamy, smoky, vanilla-laden, oranges, cloves, salty and tangy.

Finish - Peaty to the last, but a great creamy seam of flavour runs through the finish. Salty home-made fudge.

Water brings out even more peat on the nose, and a real coal-tar character that was hiding behind the barley without water.

This is (astonishingly) even better than the 10yo of a year or two ago, when my understanding is that older and rarer casks were being used to make up the blend. Seems that Glenmorangie have really, really got it right with the new production.

Awesome. There's no other word for it. No other distillery in the world has anything anywhere near this impressive as their base expression.

It's awesome to read reviews of people who have been into whiskies long enough that they can compare vintages, and have a well enough developed palate to be able to describe whisky favours and smells to this level of depth...

@jdcook

The nose is powerful - peat, salt, a little iodine and an underlying sweetness. I can leave it sitting on a coffee table more than a metre away, and within a minute, I get gentle wafts of the smell. Very balanced too, and warm.

The taste takes a few seconds to gently and smoothly bloom into a deeply warm, peaty, smoky, salty, slightly medicinal, spicy warmth with a tantalising hint of sweetness - complex, but in a good way, and superbly balanced. Every sip tastes a little bit different, and all of them taste brilliant!

The finish is long and warm - filled with salt, smoke and peat with a just enough spice to make sure that your lips tingle for some time after each sip.

My first Islay malt was the Lagavulin, and if I were to make a recommendation, that's probably not the dram you should suggest to someone who was just getting into whisky and had only tried the Glenfiddich range up until that point. Suffice it to say, that Islay malts weren't my thing for a while. The Ardbeg 10 year old is the malt that changed all that.

While the Lagavulins and Laphroig's have a little bit of a 'punch you in the face and take no prisoners' attitude towards flavour (and that is one of the many reasons I now love them), the Ardbeg is a little more urbane. It has all the elements that make Islay malts great (salt, iodine, smoke and peat), but keeps them within elegantly balanced limits.

This isn't my favourite Ardbeg expression (that would be the Uigedail), but it is a genuinely fantastic drink, and the perfect introduction to Islay malts for those who are ready. At least, it was for me.

the 10 is the cornerstone of every home bar. along witht he laph. 10 and the lagavulin 16. i love it. it was my first Islat malt i owned. i do agree the Uigedail is even better! slainte! gal

@galg - Those three are the three base Islay's everyone should try.

@blrbwmn
@WhiskyApostle

Nose: Peat, leather, caramelized plums, brine and a hint of sweet bourbon (think Basil Hayden’s more than Maker’s Mark) Palate:Lightly peated compared to some other Islays, this whiskey lets the malted barley shine through. As with other peated whiskies, there are definite notes of licorice and iodine. Finish:Despite it’s astringent mouth feel, the taste of peat and iodine stick around long after you swallow this one. A long finish is one of the trademarks of Islay malts, but this was surprising. Comments:This whisky provides a good introduction to peated single malts. It is not overly peated and offers some of the cereal notes and sweetness you get from lightly or unpeated whiskies. I expected a little bit more complexity from an unfiltered whisky though. The astringent quality and pale color are both odd for Islay whiskies. Whiskies from the Islay region tend toward a darker color and more oily mouth feel. This one is good for someone just getting into Islay malts, but I would recommend Laphroaig, Lagavulin, or Talisker (technically from Skye, not Islay, but similar taste profile) over this one.

No they don't.

Interesting review... @OiJas, I'm not one to economize on words but I think you said it all.

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