93 Points Whisky Advocate : 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. (Vol. 9, #1)
The Ardbeg distillery was founded in 1815. For most of its history, Ardbeg's whisky was produced for use in blends, rather than as a single malt. Production was halted in 1981, but resumed on a limited basis in 1989 and continued at a low level through late 1996, during the period when Ardbeg was owned by Hiram Walker. The distillery was bought and reopened in 1997 by Glenmorangie plc (owned by the French company LVMH) with production resuming on June 25, 1997 and full production resuming in 1998. The distillery was reopened by Ed Dodson in 1997 and handed over to Stuart Thomson, who managed it from 1997 to 2006. Michael "Mickey" Heads, an Islay native and former manager at Jura who had worked at Ardbeg years earlier, took over on March 12, 2007.
Now with a new super low price! Named World Whisky of the Year by Jim Murray in his 2008 edition of The Whisky Bible. 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 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.T he 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." 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.
Arbeg Scotch 10 Year has the nose that has a burst of intense smoky fruit, infused with zesty lemon and lime. The flavors of lemon and lime juice, black pepper pops with sizzling cinnamon-spiced toffee, the finish is long and smoky with tarry espresso, aniseed, toasted almonds and traces of soft barley and fresh pear.