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Ardbeg Ten (2013, OB, 46%)

Now that the election’s over, don’t beat around the bush: for those not lucky enough to be on Islay, this will be a week of waiting. What are we waiting? The Ardbeg Day, of course! In the Diocesan Museum of Milan – in the middle of the usual whirlwind of cotillons – the new Ardbeg Auriverdes will be presented on Saturday. It’s the traditional annual release and we’re all very curious: it will continue on the dark side of the last disappointing editions or it’ll take a great leap forward? While we over think about these philosophical questions, we don’t want to reach the appointment unprepared: we’ll train tasting the two core range expressions this website is still missing and a former limited edition… So let’s start with the entry-level malt, that mythological bottle we used to fall in love with several years ago: ladies and gentlemen, we’d love to introduce the Ardbeg Ten!

ardbeg-10-year-old-whisky

N: let’s start from the sweetness, beautifully intense and surprising: unripe pear, candied lemon and marzipan. Perfectly integrated marine notes are added. It’s the traditional Islay character we use to link with Ardbeg: the aggresive vegetal peat, that reminds the seaweed; then, brine and seawater, and a harsh smoke, something between tar and burnt rubber. That’s all folks, simple and rough in its complexity.

P: it starts on an intense sweetness (marzipan, liquorice), but the peat smoke quickly become the main actor on the stage. It’s powerful and aggressive and it’s complemented by a salty & briny sea tide simply unstoppable. It’s wonderfully peppery, with hints of toasted coffee beans. Lemon.

F: dry and led by an extreme and acrid smoke: peat, burnt oak, a touch of pepper. Briny.

It’s exactly how we remember it (as we could ever forget it…): an excellent entry-level for the peated whiskies from Islay in their most brutal version. We invent a newborn category: it’s the perfect daily peat monster. No expedients nor whimsicalities, it goes straight to the point and it’s also surprisingly drinkable and pleasant. Even too easily! In short, sometimes it’s said that Arbdeg is degenerating: but if we should judge from this 10 yo, we’d definetely disagree. 86/100.

Recommended soundtrack: MetallicaSeek and Destroy

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