Ardbeg 10 Year Old Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml) (Previously $50)
Straw-gold color. On the nose, sweet toffee, citrus notes, seaweed, and spice complement a powerful peat smoke infusion. In body, it is thick and oily. On the palate, a somewhat sweet maltiness up front is run over by a powerful peat smoke locomotive. Again, the whisky is enriched with citrus and pear notes, spice, and seaweed. The finish is powerful, long, and warming. The smoke lingers for minutes, if not hours. Style: Islay single malt Scotch whisky... If you like your Ardbeg to go to a phenolic extreme, you will cherish this one. This big, powerful whisky makes no apologies for its Islay roots. And the fact that this whisky is bottled at 46% ABV just makes this big whisky even bigger. (JH, Fall 2000)
For peat lovers only. Pale straw, briny nose. On the palate, this is like a time-release smoke capsule—after a flash of sweetness, the smoke just keeps rolling on in waves. Water adds some softness and mitigates the smoke a bit. Well-constructed and classic. Good value. (KN)
Now with a new super low price! Named World Whisky of the Year by Jim Murray in his 2008 edition of the Whisky Bible. The first time I ever tasted the 10 year I immediately fell in love with the peat and the toffee richness that accompanied the power and complexity of the spirit. (David Driscoll, K&L Spirits Buyer) Notes from the distiller: "Aroma: Exceptional balance and depth. At full strength, the aroma is a beguiling mix of toffee and chocolate sweetness, cinnamon spice and medicinal phenols. Fresh citrus and floral notes of white wine are evident, as are melon, pear drops and a gentle creaminess. There is also the fresh phenolic aroma of sea spray and smoked fish. Hickory and coffee emerge later as the most volatile top notes fade. With water, the depth of the peat opens up, at once revealing layers of phenols with gristy peat and leather followed by medicinal phenols (carbolic soap) and a whiff of wood smoke. However, the sweetness of vanilla and the fragrance of citrus fruits are never far behind, maintaining the balance and intrigue. Taste: An initial moderate and clean sweetness of deep peat notes, with tobacco smoke and strong espresso coffee, which then gives way to treacle sweetness and liquorice. The mouthfeel is firstly lightly spiced, then chewing and mouthwatering and full, finally drying. Finish: Long and smoky. A smoky sweetness is left on the palate, with a crushed peat and sweet-malted cereal character."