Welcome to the Badger and Blade Spirit of the Month for October 2008!
This month's selection is Ardbeg Ten Years Old Single Islay Malt Scotch Whisky.
Yup, its time to move onto the single malts! We've selected an exceptionally accessible, yet critically acclaimed whisky that will please scotch beginners and seasoned enthusiasts alike. Ardbeg 10 is a relatively easy-to-find single malt, 92 proof (46% ABV), and usually available in the ~$50/bottle range.
Islay Whisky: The scotch newbie might first appreciate the various whisky-producing regions of Scotland, and Islay (pronounced eye-LUH) in particular, when approaching Ardbeg for the first time. Islay malts are especially known for their rich peaty character. The distilleries located on the southern coast of Islay, including Lagavulin, Laphroaig, and Ardbeg are thought by many to produce malts which are more heavily peated than the island's other distilleries. In contrast, whiskys from other regions are often characterized as more spicy, fruity, and/or smoky, and generally exhibit a wider flavor variation from distillery to distillery within the same region than do the Islay malts. (map courtesy Wikipedia)
The Ardbeg Distillery: Ardbeg was founded in 1815 on the shores of Loch Uigeadail. Production was halted in 1981, and resumed sporadically in 1989 until its purchase by Glenmorangie in 1997. Ardbeg 10 boasts its selection as 2008's "World's Best Whisky" as proclaimed by Jim Murray's "Whisky Bible." Ardbeg produces many bottlings, and scotch enthusiasts familiar with the standard 10 year offering are definitely encouraged to discuss their favorite Ardbeg variety here as well. (pic courtesy Wikipedia)
Ardbeg 10: Ardbeg 10 is non-chill-filtered, a characteristic shared by most whiskys bottled a ≥46% ABV. For the curious, chill filtering is a process by which the whisky is cooled down to 0 degrees and passed through a fine metal filter. This removes some fatty acids and associated proteins. Although most agree these removed components do impart flavor to the whisky, chill-filtering is thought to produce the benefit of a less cloudy, more consistent bottling.
The bottle insert describes the taste of Ardbeg 10:
Nose: 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 whine are evident as are melon, pear drops, general creaminess, fresh phenolic aroma of seaspray (iodine) and smoked fish. Hickory and coffee emerge later as the most volatile top notes fade.Suggested cocktails: Are you kidding?!?
Taste: An initial moderate and clean sweetness is rapidly followed by a mouthful of deep peat notes, with tobacco smoke and strong espresso coffee, which then gives way to treacle sweetness and liquorice. The moth feel is firstly lightly spiced (astringent), then chewing, mouthwatering, full and finally dry.
Finish: Long and smoky. A smoky sweetness is left on the palate, with a crushed peat and sweet malted cereal character.
Use this thread to discuss your tasting notes for Ardbeg 10, other Ardbeg bottlings, comparisons with other single malts, meal or cigar pairings, etc.
Thanks everyone for participating and CHEERS!!