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I've been saving my notes from a glass of Alligator that I savored a few months ago at the Highland Stillhouse. Here they are:
Nose: Charbroiled T-bone steak, creamy vanilla, lemon zest, Texas-style BBQ sauce, Anaheim (flame roasted) peppers, fruit compote, prunes, burnt butter brickle.
Palate: More lemon (fruit), ginger scones, challah toast, cinnamon, back bacon, vanilla meringue, Key lime pie, graham cracker, sea salt, generous wafts of sweet smoke, and a deep satisfying peat that is unique to Ardbeg.
Finish: Chicory, burnt challah, lovely rich peat, ocean brine, creosote pylons (as in an ocean wharf's), campfire coals hissing with delight.
This Ardbeg earned its name from the heavily charred casks that resembled the scaly skin of alligators in which this whisky was aged.
See my link to a review (below in the comments section) with Mick Secor, owner (publican) of the Highland Stillhouse in Oregon City.
Mick was instrumental in getting Ardbeg back into the USA in general, and into Oregon in particular, many years ago, when single malts were few and far between in these parts. He is a retired heart surgeon who just happens to own and operate one of the very best pubs in America, which is dearly loved by Jim Murray and many other whisky greats.
Mick the Publican is a wealth of knowledge about whiskies--especially those which hail from Islay.
The chat (below) with him is worth hearing. I, for one, learned a great deal shooting the breeze with Mick on the top floor of his creaky old pub (which is haunted, by the way). The Stillhouse perches atop a rocky craig of basalt overlooking the Willamette river.
I've been known to sit out on the wooden deck, sipping a mind-blowing scotch whilst gazing out over the cliff, far far below .. . where ancient falls, once tamed by dams, have begun to reclaim their former glory, inch by inch, in the shadow of Lovecraftian-style derelict warehouses and mills.
Aye, these tin-roofed monstrosities of concrete sag a bit more with every passing year, crumbling into Willamette's stigeon depths, where vast schools of sturgeon amass, lumbering, en masse, like Cthulhu, himself, across aeolean abyss that might well ebb and flow into another dimension for all I know . . . or is this ode merely the "living waters" talking? Anything is possible, for I have dined on honey dew and drunk the milk of paradise, come rain or shine, from atop the black cliffs of Mick's eldritch haunt, o're looking Mother Nature's proxy & industry's loss far far below. . . .