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Ardbeg Corryvreckan

Happy Birthday To....Me!

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@talexanderReview by @talexander

30th May 2012


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Tonight - my birthday dram! Now entering my 41st year, I thought I'd celebrate with this incredible whisky. I had a sample at a tasting @Victor gave, but I bought a bottle the first opportunity I could find. I think this is the first Ardbeg I've owned (and so the first Ardbeg I've reviewed).

One of the three Kildaton-area distilleries (the others being neighbours Lagavulin and Laphroaig - what a trifecta!), Ardbeg was first licensed in 1815 and was used almost solely in blends. It was mothballed in the 1980s but slowly came back, helped along by being purchased by Glenmorangie in 1997. Since then, it has come back with a vengeance and is now recognized as one of the very top distilleries, with it's core 10 Year Old as well as various other more premium expressions.

And The Corryvreckan? Well, it's the second largest whirlpool in the world (google it - neat pics!) The packaging will tell you the whole legend of the Viking going into the whirlpool for his ladylove, and how it relates to the whisky, blah blah blah. Excellent example of romantic marketing (which Scottish distillers excel at). But what about the liquid?

It is a shimmering light golden colour. A fantastic nose: lemon, peat, seaweed, pine needles, wet dog. Medicinal. Hot, light and very pleasant - fruity citrus notes carried by the gentle peat smoke. Water accentuates the seaweed and iodine. Just smoky enough to carry all the other elements beautifully.

In the mouth: wow. Extremely mouth drying yet also oily. Very smoky (a wet, clingy smoke) but behind that, some light honey, light brown sugar, milk chocolate, lemon tart, grapefruit, very briny. Water makes it sweeter, which goes miraculously well with the rock salt and peat, makes it much fruitier. Stings the lips and dries the mouth. Extremely complex whirlpool (there's that marketing again!) of flavours: salt, smoke, tart, sweet - incredible. I'll be sitting with this for a while...

The finish is long but not too long. The smoke hangs back and allows the sweet maltiness to come forward. The balance of this whisky is perfect. Each element is slightly different yet complements the other in total harmony. This is as good as it gets. This is why I always come back to Islays - nothing on Speyside comes close to this (well, except the Macallan 1946, which was peated, so there ya go). And this is why Ardbeg remains one of my top distilleries. Slainte! And Happy Birthday!

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Victor commented

@talexander, it is a fine thing to be reviewing fine whisky on your birthday. Encore une fois, Happy Birthday! This may be the first Ardbeg in your cabinet, but I suspect that it will not be the last. Cheers, our very good friend, from both me and from Dramlette!

9 years ago 0

Jimlad2000 commented

Excellent review there talexander :) I'm enjoying my bottle to aswell. You should try the Uigeadail next thats another cracking bottle.

9 years ago 0

talexander commented

Yes, @Jimlad2000, I've sampled the Uigeadail - it's great...but what Ardbeg isn't great?

9 years ago 0

stevesmyth30 commented

I just picked up a bottle of this today. I love the "hole in the wall" packie by my office in downtown Boston. The guy has scotch and bourbon stacked all the way to the ceiling as its so small. Nice thing, and I dont know how he does it, you can sample almost anything you want to buy there....crazy. So I sipped a half dram out of a red solo cup (I know..I know). So as I am sipping in the goodness, the kid (early 20's) next to me says to the owner "hey, let me taste that shit"..to which the owner replies...."here, try some Chivas first"....lol!! So as much as I can judge from a plastic cup....This is a good deal different than the Ooogie...and vastly different than the 10 year. There is alot going on here...my palate is quite new to scotch, but I definitely pick up a good deal of vanilla in my mouth...I want to say salty vanilla thats been smoked all day in the back yard Weber :) My first touch to the tongue...I cringed. Too much band aid taste...but that was strangely only the first sip. The owner had just cracked the bottle open while I was there, so i wonder if it needs to breath as a good wine does??? All I know is, the second sip was perfection. Maybe it was because it was Friday and I should be in the office, not sipping scotch downstairs, but this scotch is a must have. I turned right around and asked for two bottles. I cant risk it being hard to get later on :)

9 years ago 0

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