Let me start off by saying I'm a drummer. And so I was really excited to try this whisky. What a let down. Another "fail" from Dr. Bill. I saw him speak a while back and it was hilarious . . . in a good way. Lots of dirty jokes and ribaldry.
Anyway, the last Ardbeg Day release that I liked was Dark Cove. I actually liked the market release more than the committee edition, which was a first. Prior to that, I really love the Ardbeg Day and Ardbog was pretty darned good. Is the Alligator a day release? If so, terrific one! The rest are well . . . forgettable. In fact, when compared with the March 2015 10 Year release, they are terrible.
Nose: Weak and lackluster. The peat is there, but some young scotch seems to rise up like cheap perfume. Under this, I catch a whiff of the rum wood, ho hum. A bit of smoke that is quite nice (from a few charred casks, or not?) It reminds me a bit of Alligator, or perhaps it's just the burning peat talking.
Mouth: The "banana" note is simply young spirit . . . younger than ten years. This mixed with some good casks that are all but drowned out by a bunch of mediocre casks. The rum is a silent partner, but it's there under the surface. So why didn't Ardbeg invest in some nice rum casks? Not sure. The rum wood tastes pretty average to me. If I were the "doctor," then I would have used better rum wood (that had aged some good rum) and then put them more front and center. There's marshmallow, vanilla, and a bit of tannic action.
Finish: Fast and cheap, like a working girl at a factory bar.
Verdict: Save your money on this one guys. Be picky about which ten year you buy and when a good run comes out, snatch up a case of the stuff. That's what I do. I miss the March 2015. It was sooooooooooo good. I bought a case of that one and wished I'd bought two, only to skip the Day releases. I haven't tasted a good Uigeadail in a dog's age. They are all too young.
I think Dr. Bill should have left the shoelaces on the light switches before he "improved" Ardbeg's distillery. Because those old guys back in the day made whisky that yanked the expensive Burberry loafers right off his feet.
Many of the Old Guard are dead and buried now, but they were the real deal, and many of their best secrets went with them to the grave. And many a distiller these days would have benefited from studying in their "old skool" classroom. Dr. Bill is no exception, despite the fact that he speaks great French.
Le whisky à l’ancienne bat les dividendes liquides multinationaux contemporains. Vive les hommes libres et les volontés libres