This classic from the most South-eastern coast of Islay needs no introduction. The Ardbeg Ten is one of the flagship products to come out of Islay, and has been loved by whisky drinkers and peatheads alike. The ten year old is a jump from the medium peated Bowmore, and a huge leap from the lightly peated Bunnahabhain, but it is by no means a brute. Ardbeg Ten is the base for the other two core Ardbeg products as well, with it being finished in sherry casks for the Uigeadail and finished in Port wine pipes for the Corryvreckan. It is also the most gentle out of the three, and has the lowest ABV. Funny how a thing as big and bold as this can be gentle, but it really is!
Ardbeg Ten – 46% Non chill filtered
Nose: Peat, firey coal, medicinal and a slight floral vanilla at first. Given some time, it develops some white pepper and a sugary sweetness. 80/100
Palate: Sweet, peppery and has a fresh zing. A big peaty sensation that balances the sweetness. A sensation of smoked fish, burnt grass and dark roast coffee. Make no mistake, at this level of peatiness, this is one of the most well balanced whiskies. The smoke is big and embracing, an interplay with decadent flavours of vanilla, toasted marshmellows, and butterscotch, and most importantly, not a slap to the face. 80/100
Finish: A very long, lovely, firey, smokey sensation. After all that settles, there is a nice peppery note that lingers. So very long, but I can’t help but wish it was longer. 85/100
Afterthought: The finish is probably the closest thing to how a dragon would feel after spitting fire. A whisky to be had when you don’t feel like compromising. Has all the trademarks of an Islay whisky, but so much more. Also, this whisky is beautifully paired with a spicy squid ink aglio olio with sautéed shrimp or other shellfish.
I score it: 82/100
Thanks for reading! Kanpai!
Opinions and pictures are my own.