WOW, thats all I can say. I decided on the Ardbeg up after reading a review about it in my whisky bible. It received phenomenal reviews and the connoisseurs love it. So lets put this smoky friend to the test....
Color: a very pale straw or even a white wine (sure isn't sweet like wine)
Nose: It starts very salty then turns to a smell of peat, after that a little PEAT, then more PEAT! But it is great...it is so smooth almost like a sweetened slice of the dirt. Like a campfire roasting marshmallows.
Palate: Stings a bit, then mellows into a sweet smoky taste, not as much peat as you would expect but still very strong. Ahhhh a citrus like sweet stays on the back of the tongue as the smoke drifts out...very impressive. Much more refined than the Laphroig 10. It has a berry aftertaste, granted it is hidden in layers of smoke and peat but it is there.
Finish: It is much much, more smooth than I imagined. The smell makes you think you are about to drink a swamp, then the taste presents a very complex and sophisticated dram. It is a fairly long finish of smoky sweet and that warming high alcohol tingle.
What a journey! I was really impressed with this smoky dram. I thought I liked Laphroig but this puts the Laphroig to shame. It was smooth, impressive, and complex for a peaty Islay malt. It was a thick, juicy, and actually quite affordable. I would not recommend this to a new drinker, or even some veterans. This is a whisky to be enjoyed by someone with a tongue and nose that would appreciate this unique drink. I give the Ardbeg 10 year old a solid 9.5 out of 10.
Questions for YOU: What is you favorite smoky Scotch?