DISCLAIMER: The Sample for this review was purchased by me. All ideas and opinions in this post are entirely my own. I do not accept any money for these reviews.
Color: White Wine
Nose: Sweet peat, charcoal, pepper, citrus, sea air, fruit, and sweet vanilla
Taste: Peat, Sweet fruits, black pepper, vanilla, citrus, brine, slightly medicinal
Finish: Long smooth, smokey, peaty, sweet finish
There are those that say that Scotch whisky is an acquired taste. To this I say BULLSHIT! Well, only partly. Peat is the only part of Scotch that was an acquired taste for me. You see the first time I ever picked up Scotch, I was in love. It was Cutty Sark, and at the time I thought it was the best thing ever. Being young though, I started drinking Jack Daniels, or Jim Beam because they were cheaper and more readily available.
Then I was turned on to Chivas Regal by my father-in-law and I remembered again how much I liked Scotch. It wasn’t until I really got into Scotch that I realized the diversity of it. I had always stuck to the Speysides, or blends without even knowing I was doing it. You all may remember that I went to the Whiskey Extravaganza down in Dallas last May. While there I was introduced to all of the whisky regions. I loved them all…but one. Islay! I felt as if I’d taken a drink of a fireplace that had been soaked in iodine. I hated it.
As a blogger I get samples from all over the place and since the Extravaganza I’ve had a few peated sample com across the table. Each time I’d look at them in horror and have to talk myself into it. I should mention that while I hated peat, Rick loved it and would be excited each time we received a peated whiskey to sample. After a while though I realized that I was starting to develop a taste for them.
Then, on New Year’s Eve I decided to take the plunge. When Rick arrived he and I went to the local liquor store to purchase a bottle. Knowing me, he started looking at the tamer stuff while I was looking for Lagavulin, Ardbeg, or Laphroaig. In that order. I finally found the Ardbeg at the second store, I debated continuing my search but figured rightly that it would be fruitless in my small town. We took it home and cracked it open.
I’ll start this by saying that I am a convert, I loved the Ardbeg. I may never go back to un-peated whisky again. The Ardbeg is phenomenal. From the nose to the finish. I admit when I first poured this I was really put off by the color. It was so light that if I had poured it into a wineglass it could have been mistaken for white wine.
The color is completely forgotten though as you inhale the sweet peat, pepper, fruit and vanilla. It was surprising to find that while I could definitely smell the peat, it did not overpower the more delicate floral notes.
The first sip is sublime. It starts off slow and sweet and ramps up into the peat. The pepper and brininess come through as well, with just a touch of iodine. It finishes long and smooth and seems to burn up from the stomach, instead of on the way down. Not indeigestion, but just the warmth from the alcohol.
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