Review: Ardbeg 10

Maker: Ardbeg, Isle of Islay, Scotland (LVMH)

Region: Islay

Age: 10 y/o

ABV: 46%

Appearance: Light gold. On the glass it is clingy and insistent like an insecure lover.

Nose: Brown butter, peat (but no smoke), weak black tea

On the Palate: Full-bodied, more butter, big peat, white chocolate, but lots of sweet malt too.

Finish: The finish is a monster. Big, hot and aggressive, with the long hidden smoke making its appearance.  As the sweetness fade from the palate the smoke and peat and alcohol erupt from the back of the mouth, swirl around the mouth and engulf the tongue, cheeks and lips in a symphony of fire.

Parting words: This was my first bottle of Ardbeg and I have enjoyed it quite a bit. I remain a Scotch novice, but compared to the other Islay malts I’ve tasted so far, I think I would rank this whiskey in the middle of the pack. Not to say this is a mediocre whisky by any stretch, it’s excellent. But at the same price I think I would prefer something from Laphroaig if I had to choose. Luckily, I don’t have to. The buttery peat of Ardbeg is a nice change of pace from the smoldering hearth of Laphroaig.

I am eager to try some of Ardbeg’s NAS offerings. Any recommendations?