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Nose: Sea air, charred oak, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, fried pork cracklings, orange coated in dark chocolate, bitter mint, a little vanilla, cinnamon and icing, burnt marshmallows, and very lovely allspice.
Taste: Lots of pepper, charred oak again, sweet orange, bitter chocolate, cinnamon, sea water, and mild peat. Not as "Ardbeggy" as I'd like.
Finish: Spicy, burning herbs, a bit of malt (cornflakes?), some peat and char.
Quite an interesting Ardbeg this is. I didn't get those BBQ sauce notes that everyone describes but perhaps all those spices that I got are to others BBQ. One thing is for sure, the extra char on the barrels really made a difference. Perhaps the greatest thing about the Alligator is how strongly I get that fried pork crackling note on the nose. I simply adore it. It's just like the pork crackling we have here in Louisiana, seasoned with cayenne, paprika, and a tiny pinch of sugar.
Although this isn't your standard Ardbeg, fans of the 10 year old will notice similarities. I must admit, I like the Alligator a bit more because I feel it is a bit more complex.