Ardbeg Scorch

Overall rating
Whiskybase ID
Single Malt
Distillery Bottling
Bottling serie
Limited Edition
Dragon Charred Casks
46.0 % Vol.
700 ml 700 ml 750 ml
Bottle code
Bottled for
Feis Ile 2021, was sold "only" with Ardbeg bag in various countries
Added on
23 Apr 2021 7:10 am by maurizio

Average value

€ 210.00

87 × in wishlist

374 × member ratings

3256 × in collection

Whisky Reviews for Ardbeg Scorch

48 users have left a review for this whisky and scored it an average of 86.73 points

  1. Official tasting note

    Press release, Ardbeg / Moet Hennessy
    General Release (GR), 46%, 115.- EUR - from May 25th, 2021
    no chill filtration (no cold filtration)
    no color added (without added caramel)
    Color: light brushed gold
    • Nose
      Scary, intense aromas of soot and smoke. Hints of aniseed and fragrant patchouli are intertwined with strong notes of hardened steel and saddle soap. With a drop of water, herbal top notes of briar, sage and pine come to the fore.
    • Taste
      With one sip, an abundance of aromas opens up. Oily, meaningful with a cloud of sweet smoke and kite-charred oak. Grilled food is interwoven with notes of black liquorice and medicinal lozenges.
    • Finish
      A long and heroic finale, with a light, tarry aftertaste that stretches happily and far to the end.

  2. didi1893 scored this whisky 89 points Connoisseur

    A really interesting and special Ardbeg! Compared to Uigeadail and Corryvreckan, it is much milder and smokier, of course a few percent alcohol is missing, although the unusually sweet and intense smoky note compensates for this. Thanks to the extremely burned out barrels and the resulting smoke, soot and ash notes, the scorch goes strongly in the direction of the notorious alligator, although in my opinion it cannot quite hold a candle to the alligator. Thanks to its harmonious and mild nature, the Schorch immediately tempts you to take another sip or glass, which makes it damn dangerous ...
    • Nose
      Light caramel shimmers amber in the Premium Snifter, a multitude of thick and oily "legs" adorns the glass wall ... While pouring, a small drop dripped onto the finger of the left hand and has been giving off its wonderfully smoky aroma since then, this intensity alone leads to extremely charred and close burnt out barrels. At the first nosing, wooden smoke mixes with burnt wood tones and fly ash, grilled apricots and peaches are sweet and fruity, hints of wet herbs and juicy spices flatter the nose. The first impression is extremely mild and harmonious in spite of its smoky nature, again immediately afterwards sweet fruit with caramel and toffee comes into its own. Spicy wood plays with a hint of resin and pine needles, menthol and hints of sour citrus fruits are minimal.
    • Taste
      The first sip wets the lips creamy, in the next moment soot and ash dominate, warm smoke clad the palate with burnt wood tones while a pinch of pepper slowly becomes noticeable on the tongue. The second sip looks much more metallic and dirtier, burnt wood and dying embers heat up the tongue, cozy warm wood smoke draws through the palate down the throat. Burnt hazelnuts, soot, ashes, herbs and spices exude their tart but warming aroma in the entire mouth area, sweet grilled fruits play with grapefruit and lemons while menthol and eucalyptus slowly become noticeable with liquorice and cedarwood.
    • Finish
      Soot and ash rise from the stomach area, warm smoke and banished wood play with roasted nuts and an intense mixture of spices, the aftertaste becomes smearier and soapy. I slowly get the feeling that the aftertaste never fades, roasted nuts with slightly resinous pine needles stick to my tongue again ...

  3. Archer scored this whisky 87 points Connoisseur

    Very nice on the nose, on the palate and in the finish, he runs out of breath too quickly. It's a shame, because what it delivered in the nose was very promising, even if it doesn't smell or taste like a classic Ardbeg.
    • Nose
      89 89
      Subtly smoky and with a thoroughly fruity-sweet base. It seems a bit closed at the beginning, but it doesn't give the impression that it will stay that way. And that's right: after standing in the glass for a while, the peat puff attracts and becomes more intense, the fruits turn out to be smoked strawberries and raspberries. Slightly peppery and with a pinch of clove powder, with bay leaves. Yes, it is becoming more and more intense in terms of aroma, a very nice development.
    • Taste
      87 87
      Very pleasant start, slightly creamy. The strawberries and raspberries on the nose, appropriately clear peat smoke, which, however, has nothing of the cold Ardbeg ashtray with the splash of lemon, which is otherwise quite common at Ardbeg, but it is warm and velvety. Milk chocolate, milk coffee, mild pepper. Unfortunately, it looks a bit watery and thin at the back - I had already written that he comes back with flavor, peat and pepper and teaches me better.
    • Finish
      86 86
      Just about medium length, dry and slightly ashy. Obviously he has exhausted himself a bit with the last kick on the tongue, because here in the finish he really kinks too quickly. Although delicious fresh strawberries, chocolate, honey and mild smoke, unfortunately it goes off too quickly.

  4. Palindrome scored this whisky 86 points Expert Senior

    Takeaway: Right off the bat, the nose catches my attention. Unfortunately, Scorch's palate falls short of the nose, IMO. The finish is mediocre and lacks depth.

    Nose: Some classic Ardbeg notes here, including the typical peat, along with a charcoal note reminiscent of oceanic driftwood embers (there's the toasted oak!), vanilla pod, all spice, teak wood, some industrial notes that border on paint solvents, black pepper, caramel nougat with peanut and marshmallow, tumeric, overly fried rice (to the point of being burned), saffron.

    Palate: The low ABV runs slightly hot for only 46% but not overly hot. Just not as creamy as some Ardbeg special limited releases, such as Dark Cove. No, it is not the smoke in this dram "fooling me." As we shall see, the smoke really isn't that strong compared with past releases or other peaty Islay drams.

    I'm getting a tantalizing note that reminds me of old Ten's from the early 2000's which are vastly superior to today's Ardbeg (yes, even the single cask releases). But then, the note is dashed with what seems like refill wood that is exhausted (100 percent American oak ex bourbon barrels doesn't mean there aren't any refills).

    Tannins from some fresh ex bourbon casks are also noticeable, along with a Honduran whole leaf cigar wrapper (very nice tasting indeed). This said, both kinds of wood (fresh American ex bourbon and older refill American ex bourbon) don't seem to mix very well: a case of "old age having a go at the young" to quote A Clockwork Orange.

    Now I'm getting a musty muslin coastal curtains from a cigar smoker's house (my grandfather's). Notes of cacao and coffee grounds. Dried lemon skin.

    As one continues to sip, the whisky seems more and more lifeless and flat. I feel as though I've been relegated to the Edwin Abbott novel called Flatland in which characters interact in 2-D.

    Finish: Cigarette ash, tired wood fighting fresh wood, Ardbeg peat (no the distillery does not smoke its own peat), vanilla bean ice cream, and a well-used cedar sauna at the height of steam.

    The finish is barely medium in length (medium short). The tongue is left with a bitterness and a lack of satisfaction befitting a mediocre release from Ardbeg. One's brain slowly ceases to crave more as the law of diminishing returns overpowers truckloads of hype from Ardbeg's corporate advertising blitz involving dragons, .


    Scorch isn't really as peaty as it claims to be. Alligator was far far more peaty, for example. And the ppm of Ardbeg isn't that high compared with some other Islays (which overdo it sometimes, IMO, such as some of the Octomores). That's not to say that more peat is "more better." It's not necessarily but considering the promotional hype, this release isn't really very smokey or dragon-like.

    I much prefer Alligator to this whisky. In fact, I much prefer Day, Ardbog, Dark Cove, both Beists, and nearly all of the pre-2006 Tens. I also prefer the earlier Ugeadails to this. The 46% is lame (not even a couple tenths of a point higher than the Ten?).

    I've seen Dr. Bill speak in person. He's quite a performer. Here he is in a wizard's cape hamming it up with a lovely flaxen-haired lass: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xL43BvRt2k

    I really enjoyed Bill's lecture in person a few year's back; however, as he'd mentioned how the pre-French-owned Ardbeg distillery had shoelaces tied to the light switches, I couldn't help thinking how much better those old skool Scottish men were as whisky makers than the new high tech Ardbeg.

    Yea, verily . . . ye olde barley was simply better, and it can't be found these days. So there's no way to duplicate that, but some distilleries have gotten even better than the older releases. For instance, Bruichladdich releases (overall) tasted better in 2015 to me than in 2005. Dr. Bill's handiwork in terms of promotion outpaces the actual product. I miss the old Ardbeg that didn't need fancy concepts to sell the whisky. It was just so damned good. And it's not any longer. Not like the old days.

    Scorch is a case in point for my nostalia for the past. It just doesn't measure up even to what was coming out of Ardbeg ten years ago. Because ten years ago, it was the Alligator and ten years ago, I was nearly passing out from sheer joy as I stocked up on bottles of that. If I had only known how far Ardbeg and the rest of the industry could fall, then I would have stocked up far more than I did. Because my stash of Alligator is all gone now. Aside from a few samples in little jars that I've kept like some sort of eldritch witch doctor in my pantry.

    p.s. One more thing: I think age is a factor here. Alligator tasted older. This one tastes about like the ten (age wise, not in terms of smoke which is more than the ten obviously), with a very few slightly older and quite a few younger barrels thrown in. The younger ones don't really compliment the older ones.

    In the early 2000's Tens, for instance, the younger 10 year old casks really went well with the older casks that were thrown in as a "gratis." Gawd, those early tens were good! And they were good because expert blenders mixed old with young so well.

    In this case, there really isn't much "old" to speak of, nothing much over ten years that I can taste, and plenty younger than that.

    Still, this release isn't as bad as some of the recent Day releases. IMO, Smaug er I mean Scorch is better than Auriverdes, Perpetuum, Kelpie, Grooves, and Drum.

    HERE IS MY SCORE: 86.5

  5. WiltChamberlain scored this whisky 84 points Expert Senior

    Once again an overpriced, overrated hype bottling. At least better than the last 2 bottles.

  6. Danlow scored this whisky 91 points Expert Junior

    Take a look at the rating of didi1893, it fits very well!
    Once again a good Ardbeg as a special release with its own, unmistakable note: a coal-like ash. It's like a coal mine, where there is plenty of coal in the air. Well-oiled machines are also used there, which also give off steel aromas.
    On the other hand, the whisky is very sweet, which I don't always find at Ardbeg. Interesting and tasty.
    My rating is sometimes so high because I love Ardbeg (favorite distillery on Islay and No. 2 in general).
    • Nose
      91 91
    • Taste
      92 92
    • Finish
      90 90

  7. BarrelBeast scored this whisky 85 points Member Senior

    Youtube Review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJH-dpth9Fw
    • Nose
      84 84
    • Taste
      86 86
    • Finish
      84 84

  8. m4y4 did not rate this whisky Member Senior

    There are 2 versions of this bottling. Bottles for French market are delivered in a paper bag, the rest of countries come with the traditional box.

  9. dominikbraun scored this whisky 87 points Expert Senior

    Very burnt out, ashy, sooty, dirty, smoky. The absolute nightmare for those who like it more flowery. Wonderful! To be honest, apart from the rustic and red-fruity side, it is kept rather simple in terms of the breadth of the range of flavors.
    • Nose
      88 88
    • Taste
      87 87
    • Finish
      87 87

  10. aryehf did not rate this whisky Expert Senior

    According to interview with Dr. Bill Lumsden on 'one nation under whisky' podcast the scorch was matured on the same casks used for the Ardbeg Alligator (refill of course). Since the Alligator was released on 2011 one can deduct as well that the scorch is 9-10 YO.
    Reference can be found in https://www.podbean.com/ew/pb-wwwpu-105233e starting on the 55th minute.


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