Ardbeg Ten (2013)
It has been years since I last tasted the Ardbeg Ten. I had a lot less experience at the time, but I remember it being really quite something. At the time it was probably the most cherished bottle in my possession. Since then I drifted away from the heavily peated, Islay-style whiskies.
Recently (more like the last year or so) I’ve been starting to appreciate peat again. Not so much the real peat bombs, but I find a subtle amount of peat smoke can really lift a whisky to another level. When I bought some samples a couple weeks ago, I made sure the Ardbeg Ten was also included. I really felt like re-tasting and re-evaluating this particular whisky. The sample is from an Ardbeg Ten that was bottled in 2013.
Ardbeg Ten (46%, OB)
Nose: Peat and fruit, with mostly apple and banana. And a nice added sweetness as well. Some fresh veggies and porridge. Salt and sauerkraut. Nice balance and lots to discover with every sniff. We’re off to a great start.
Taste: Peat and tar with salt. Also burnt barley and bacon. Not much left of the fruit. Rich and watery at the same time, which is weird for something bottled at 46 percent.
Finish: Tar and smoke with citrus. A bit dry and a touch of chocolate.
A very, very good entry level whisky. And fairly priced as well. That’s a great combination in my book.
Personally though, I do tire quickly of these heavily peated whiskies. I loved the Ardbeg Ten after the first sniff and taste and was ready to storm off to the liquor store. But after sipping some more I quickly reached my maximum amount of peat intake. So I do find it good stuff, but only in moderation.
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.