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Ardbeg Corryvreckan

Batch L13 240, Bot Aug 28, 2013

0 1677

@VictorReview by @Victor

10th Aug 2016

0

  • Nose
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  • Taste
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  • Finish
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  • Balance
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  • Overall
    77

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

The reviewed bottle has been open for 9 months and is 90% full

Nose: sharp bitter peat, a little sour peat, moderate smoke, lemon, strong brine. This 9 month open bottle has lost some oomph but is still strong. This is a very good nose, especially after 10 minutes of air in the glass. Water added raises the pitch, brings out sweetness, and merges the flavours. With water this is OK, but much of the beautiful complexity is lost. Score: 22/25

Taste: heavy sourness and lemon in the mouth, which overpower and overshadow the peat, smoke, brine, and malt. This is not very good now, and is even worse--more sour--than it was when the bottle was first opened. Water added merges the flavours to a lemon-tinged black licorice. With water this is very different but still not good. Score: 17/25

Finish: it doesn't get any better by waiting, until the taste is all gone. With water added the licorice finish is shortened and then it just fizzles out. Score: 17/25

Total Sequential Score: 73 points

Strength: very strong flavours throughout. Score: 23.5/25

Quality: good to very good quality of all of the flavours. Score: 21.5/25

Variety: the overwhelming sourness narrows the range of the flavours available to be tasted. Score: 20/25

Harmony: very good in the nose; not good in the mouth. Score: 16/25

Total Non-Sequential Score: 81 points

Comment: my first reviewed bottle of Corryvreckan from Batch L11 012 was @Nock's least favourite known batch of Corryvreckan. This second reviewed bottle of mine, L13 240, is @Nock's second least favourite known batch of Corryvreckan. My bottle of L11 012 got a LOT better after much air exposure (8 months), whereas this bottle of L13 240 has gotten a lot worse with air exposure

I am actually quite surprised at how bad this bottle tastes to me now, because my memory from first opening this bottle was more of a whisky scoring at least 86 points. The bottom line is CAVEAT EMPTOR-- read reviews and pick your batches of heavily peated whisky carefully

This L13 240 Corryvreckan is one more example of a very good nose and a not-so-good palate. It would not surprise me if this one were also a case of "blending by the nose alone". Distillers and Blenders, NEWSFLASH: MANY whiskies do NOT taste he way they smell. You need to taste them ALL--in your MOUTH

77 point whisky is still very drinkable, but Ardbeg Corryvreckan can and should be much better than is Batch L13 240

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16 comments

@Victor
Victor commented

Addendum:

Balance: very good on the nose; not good thereafter. Score: 17/25

3 years ago 0

@Robert99
Robert99 commented

@Victor Well, unfortunately that is the proof that Corrys and Uigies are not all good. My batch, L601 27 10/11/2014 1401 had a herbal note half way between Springbank and Bruichladdich that was a bit to much for me at the beginning but that has now recessed. It is very good but not exceptional. So there is hope that we will get good Corrys in the future.

3 years ago 0

maltmate302 commented

In my whisky life I've only tasted 4 bottles of Ardbeg. These were 2 bottles of the 10 and 2 of Uigedail. One of the 10's was fantastic and one was very poor and I had exactly the same experience with my 2 Uigedail's. It's disappointing to find out that the massive batch variation is continuing with the Corry.

3 years ago 0

@Nock
Nock commented

@Victor, a slight correction. THIS (L13 240) is the worst Corry I have tried. In my “officially” review I gave it an 82. The L11 012 is second worst which I reviewed at 86 (I believe you gave it 90 or so by the end).

Yes, I was heart broken when you told me that this was the "back up" batch you had. It was horrible. Looking back on the few notes I took of this one (I only scored it three times). I scored it 83, 84, and 81 (in that order). My lowest score was always the balance/complexity. And I did note that the finish really turned awful after only 4 months. I believe I vatted it with 80% Grant's (the universal solvent). However, I think I saved a small sample for posterity.

Everything you say about it is correct from my experience. If you read my review the last line says, "I could easily see this rated in the 70's by someone who doesn't have a huge soft spot for high powered peat monsters." Now, I do know you enjoy the peat monster, but I think you are far more objective in such matters. So your score doesn’t surprise me in the least.

@Robert99. Funny thing, that batch of 10/11/2014 is probably my favorite Corry batch yet! I loved that "herbal" note you mentioned. It is interesting that you mention Springbank and Bruichladdich by way of comparison. I think you might have struck on something there. @Victor did try this batch on my last visit, but was not a huge fan. He also was put off by the "herbal" note if I remember correctly. He enjoyed L11 279 much more. I would say L11 279 is an excellent version of Corry (I have it around 93 to 94). But, I am so glad I have three more bottles of 10/11/2014. For me it scores 96 on all four tasting I have done with pen in hand.

@maltmate302 - that is why connosr is here - to help fellow whisky lovers avoid those bad batches. I just wish we (myself especially) were better at identifying those batches on the shelves now. Here in the US it seems to take a year for batches to show up from bottling.

FACT: my local liquor store still has bottles of this very batch, L13 240, on the shelf. With the way this batch tastes no wonder no one is buying a second bottle.

3 years ago 0

@RianC
RianC commented

Has anyone tried this recently? If so, how did it fare? Considering a plunge but wary . . .

about one year ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@RianC, everyone should try Ardbeg Corryvreckan, if only samples from friends, bars or restaurants. Every bottllng is different. For some, Corryvreckan is their favourite of all whiskies, just as Uigeadail is for others. One good thing about Ardbeg bottlings, if they don't start out well, they usually improve with a lot of air time. On the opposite end of the scale, the best bottlings of Ardbeg will lose some of their "oomph" (e.g. the smoke, especially) when they have been long open. If I were you I would buy a bottle of one of the well-reviewed batches of Corryvreckan. If you get some feedback before you commit, you can be reasonably sure that you will not get an outlier.

All of that said, I have never been a big fan of Corryvreckan, despite my liking Ardbeg the most of all Scottish distilleries. It's not an intensity thing for me. It is a harmony thing. As intensity goes I am a giant fan of the Ardbeg Supernova series, generally considered the most intense Ardbegs of all.

about one year ago 1Who liked this?

Jonathan commented

@RianC I did and it was excellent. I no longer have the bottle so can't provide the code. It was that good, and I detected some wine influence. Unless its one of batches described here, I 'd suggest that you go for it.

about one year ago 1Who liked this?

@RianC
RianC commented

@Jonathan @Victor - Thanks! Not always easy to check batch no.s as I'm buying on-line most of the time. I reckon it would be worth the gamble anyway although I suspect MoM would give you the code if you asked?

about one year ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@RianC, most people would say, "Go ahead. Order a bottle of Corryvreckan. You won't be sorry." I was sorry, TWICE. And I am a huge Ardbeg fan. You can be unlucky. It is rare, but it does happen. Like the time I insisted that my friend @Nock buy a bottle of George Dickel No. 12, a favourite of mine. That bottle he bought tasted nothing like any George Dickel I had ever had, and was awful. You never know for sure until you open the bottle.

about one year ago 1Who liked this?

@RianC
RianC commented

@Victor - MoM said they will email me their current batch on Monday. I'll do a bit of double checking before buying then.

Would love to try some Dickel as well . . .

about one year ago 1Who liked this?

@MadSingleMalt
MadSingleMalt commented

@RianC

Go ahead. Order a bottle of Corryvreckan. You won't be sorry.

:)

about one year ago 2Who liked this?

@RianC
RianC commented

MoM have Batch - 67893.

Not heard anything negative (?) so may take the plunge this week.

about one year ago 1Who liked this?

@Webb
Webb commented

I just came cross this review and was shocked by the low score. My second bottle is almost finished (L12 048) I really enjoyed it and can easily give it score of 95. To me Corryvreckan is very similar to Uigeadail (which I give it 98 score). I am sure this is due to batch variation.

about one year ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@Webb, yes, each bottling, and, indeed, each individual bottle, is its own little world and differs to a greater or lesser extent from all other bottlings and bottles. Even Ardbeg enthusiast @Nock has a low opinion of L 13 240, as he mentioned above in the comments.

Even if 99 bottles out of 100 are wonderful, if you happen to get the 1 bad battle, it is very hard to overcome the negative experiences associated with that bottle and acquire enthusiasm for future bottles with that same label on them. It is an uncomfortably common tale with whisky,...even Ardbeg.

about one year ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

As I have seen with previous lesser batches of Ardbeg, viz. L 10 194 Uigeadail, L 11 012 Corryvreckan, and 16/11/2015 Ten, long air exposure (2 1/2 years in the current case) has been good to this initially deficient bottle of Ardbeg Corryvreckan L 13 240.

Tonight's sequential NTFB scoring: 22.5-22-20.5-22 = 87 points total = very good whisky

The moral of the story: if you generally like peat and smoke, but don't like your bottle of Ardbeg, give it a lot of air time, whatever it takes...as much as 30 months. That should be fairly easy to do. If you like it you drink it. If you don't like it so much you set it to the back of your cabinet and remember it in a couple of years.

The very happy result is that, as of tonight, after 30 months of waiting, I am for the very first time quite enthusiastic to have the remaining 2/3rds of this bottle available for me and for my friends to drink!!!

about one year ago 2Who liked this?

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