[Review] Ardbeg - 10 years old 46%

It's been a while since I had some peat back on the blog so let's change that today with one of the last bottles I have opened: Ardbeg 10 years old. I actually bought this bottle one if not two years ago and never really got round to opening it. I must say with about 30 bottles opened in the cabinet, I had to establish a bit of rule: kill a bottle to be able to open another one. However, I am reaching the stage where a few of my bottles are running very low which means I can open some of those which have been on the shelves for a while. So why Ardbeg 10?

The first reason is that I am running a little low on peat. I finished Caol Ila 12, Lagavulin 8 and when I pour the last dram of Kilchoman Machir Bay, I thought I needed to replenish some of the peat stock. Ardbeg 10 is also one I tried a couple of times in the past but it didn't leave a particularly strong impression on -me unlike the Uigeadail. It was therefore time to give it a proper chance, and boy did it not disappoint...!

What is great with Ardbeg is that you do not get a single malt which has been watered down to 40%, coloured and chill-filtered. This is proper stuff! The 10 is presented at 46%, and its colour is of course quite pale, fully imparted by the ex-Bourbon casks used for its maturation. 

Nose: Sweet and salty, earthy peat, charcoal, some citrus notes too and some smokey oily fish in there as well. Absolutely fantastic, it definitely smells of quality!

Palate: Rich and briny with a good amount of barley sweetness, the cereal notes mixing with spices and pepper. There is of course some peat smoke and some citric notes (lemon/lime). Why didn't I love it the first time I had it???

Finish: Wet campfire, earthy peat. It is pretty long lasting. There is still some barley sweetness, hints of salt and strong espresso notes. The dry charcoal seems to be lasting the longest.

With water: The nose becomes sweeter with salty vanilla fudge and tropical notes. The palate loses a little peat and becomes a bit softer with some salty caramel and the finish gets hints of aniseed and smoked meat. 

Overall, why did I ever think Ardbeg 10 would not be anything special when everyone around worship it? I was genuinely looking forward to more Uigeadail rather than Ardbeg 10 but I am so glad I opened it as it is as good as everybody says it is. Of course you must not be averse to peat as it has a good dose of it, but the mix of charcoal, smokey peat, salt and sweet barley is definitely a winner in my books. I cannot wait to get hold of some Uigeadail now and compare both again!


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