Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tasting notes - Ardbeg 10 year

I'll freely admit that I'm relatively new to Islay scotch. I've always been intimidated by the big, rich, peaty punch of those bad boys and I've shied away from them. I favored more of the standard Speyside scotches; light, sweet, and resplendent with fruit. I guess I just couldn't handle that wallop. However, curiosity got the best of me and I picked up a bottle of Ardbeg 10 at the local liquor store. This is the equivalent of learning to drive during the Daytona 500. There is no pussyfooting around on this shit. This is a big bad mamma-jamma that's done time, has scars and tattoos, and killed his own mom because she looked at him funny. Yeah, its that intense of a scotch. Here are the prelim notes:

Nose - Wood smoke, iodine, slight bittersweet chocolate, rich vanilla, sea water, and a light sweetness.

Taste: Smoked meat/bacon, road tar, oranges, tobacco, slight dark fruit, maybe sherry?

Finish is like a sugar coated camp fire: both smoky and sweet at the same time.

Really, this is a doozy of a scotch. Weighing in at about 46% ABV helps too. If you want a peaty fucker, go for Ardbeg. I need to get my hands on some Lagavulin and Laphroaig to round out the Islay category. One of my favorite scotches is Talisker because of its balance between Speyside-like fruity sweetness and Islay smoke and fire. It's interesting to taste the absolute ends of the spectrum. And by interesting, I mean really tasty.

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