By Richard Thomas
Ardbeg is known for its heavily peated whiskies, standing out even among the already peaty Islay style, and Ardbeg Ten is their flagship.
One of the interesting thing about the Ten is that, as a mere 1o year old, it is the oldest expression in current release from the distillery. The croakers of the Scotch blogosphere are especially suspicious and loud when it comes to NAS expressions, but they make an exception for Ardbeg. If anyone else in Scotland had just one age statement single malt, and that just a 10 year old, and surrounded it with a plethora of NAS malts, you could hear the hoots of derision of said croakers from Irish Sea to the North Sea.
But not Ardbeg. There are a variety of reasons for this odd state of affairs, some fair and some not, but among them is the plain fact that Ardbeg has earned its fan favorite status by consistently turning out good whisky.
Ardbeg 10 Year Old is drawn entirely from ex-Bourbon barrel aged stock, and bottled at 46% ABV.
In the glass, Ardbeg 10 Year Old has a pale straw coloring. It is very pale, in fact, so pale that it is almost translucent. The nose is a current of pungent smoke, rounded out by a note of lemon cookie and dry hay.
The flavor too is very much centered on a hefty blast of peat smoke, with notes of citrus, vanilla, honey and a little grassiness. The finish starts out both peppery and spicy, but winds down with a lingering ashy, charcoal like flavor.
If you like peat bomb whisky, Ardbeg Ten delivers like a middleweight slugger. It’s not the peatiest whisky around, but it punches hard at its weight class.
Expect to pay £45 in the UK and about $50 in the US.