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Ardbeg Ardbog

(Un)Ardbeggian tribute to the bogs

0 585

@tastydramReview by @tastydram

6th Jun 2014

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  • Nose
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  • Taste
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  • Finish
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  • Balance
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  • Overall
    85

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

Ardbeg organises an Ardbeg Day on May 31th. The company launches a limited edition expression for the Festival of Malt and Music. True Ardbeggians will go and fetch it on the island itself during Feis Ile. Regular fans could score the 2013 edition rather easily in specialised liquor shops. If they were quick enough of course.

Last year's expression was a celebration to the peat bogs that are the very core of the Ardbeg flavour. Basically this was an Ardbeg 10 with a plus. The whisky was a marriage of spirit matured in bourbon and manzanilla sherry casks.

Tasting Notes Colour: This golden hued whisky translates stickyness to a delicious texture with nice slow tears along the glass.

Nose: Ardbeg wouldn't be Ardbeg without a decent dose of peat smoke. Forget about Blasda - everybody makes mistakes right? - for a moment. The first rendez-vous is sharp and stinging in the nose. Rock sugar, raisins and ripe bananas. And it continues with leather, mint, cinnamon biscuits and salted caramel. At the very end of the trip it treats you on a heap of wet clay soil.

Adding water enhances sweet and spicy flavours. Honey, vanilla, cinnamon and clove are the usual kitchen suspects.

Taste: On the palate Ardbog evolves like a whirlwind of salt and sweet. Salted caramel with roasted almonds and raisins. A fair share of toasted oak. Strong coffee with some whipped cream, caramel and grounded star anise. Eat this Starbucks!

Finish: The finish keeps the honey sweetness and combines it with pepper, warm pastis and coffee grounds.

Conclusion This limited Ardbeg was easily found in liquor shops. The initial price tag varied between € 80 and € 90. Not exactly cheap for a NAS (after reading the small print, it became clear it is ten years old) but still great value for your money.

The price was a small affair given the extortionate prices some shops are asking right now. You still find it, but now it will easily set you down € 160 for the very same product. Economic scarcity... and hype... and snobbishness at work.

In short: this Ardbeg is a very tasty dram, but became prohibitively expensive. Uigeadail is probably a better alternative.

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5 comments

@vanPelt
vanPelt commented

Thank you for another excellent review, @tastydram. I appreciate your descriptions. You seemed to quite like this one, so I was curious whether your score reflected the overinflated price? I noticed you scored the Ardbeg 10 equally-- which is a bad sign if the Ardbog is supposed to be "10 with a plus"! By the way, you preferred the Loch Gorm to this one?

5 years ago 0

@tastydram
tastydram commented

Normally I don't give a score to whisky's (You won't find any one the blogs) because it is too much influenced by the gout du jour. It is subject to too many parameters and can vary according to my mood, the weather, the food, ...

In intrinsic quality I think (it's a personal thing) superior to the 10yo but not in a way I'd pay the double or even the triple for it.

I hope to devise a decent and consistent scoring system one day. Don't mind them too much, because I don't ;) Which shows in the inconsistent score I give sometimes. And yes, if it was more reasonably priced for a 1Oyo whisky, that's what Ardbog is after all, it would have gotten one or two points more...

5 years ago 1Who liked this?

@vanPelt
vanPelt commented

Thanks @tastydram, I agree scores are naturally 1-dimensional and may depend on day, mood, diet, whatever! But you answered my question about intrinsic quality-- It would surely be a greater shame if the quality was only on par with the 10yo. Did you find the Ardbog similar to the Loch Gorm, and would you still say you prefer the Loch Gorm?

5 years ago 0

@tastydram
tastydram commented

I'd probably pick the Loch Gorm, because of its availability and they sell quality without the marketing bulls*^$. And I seem to have a natural preference for the underdog. But if Ardbeg decides to introduce a decently priced Manzanilla matured 10yo (or NAS) I wouldn't hesistate either :)

The flavour profile is somewhat different. Ardbog is perhaps a bit richer and spicier, while Loch Gorm is combining fruitiness and medicinal notes.

5 years ago 0

@vanPelt
vanPelt commented

Interesting. Thanks for the comparison!

5 years ago 0

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