A lighter and sweeter Ardbeg, but a tasty Ardbeg nonetheless. If I had to guess, I’d say there’s a higher proportion of first-fill bourbon casks used in this release than in the standard 10. There’s a lot more stonefruit, and the peat isn’t quite as intense despite the higher strength. I’m gonna use that word “effervescent” again, as it really describes the palate and finish well. Speaking of the finish, it’s a little short and flat for my tastes, which is the main detractor from an otherwise really nice dram. Then again, I really like fresh and floral whiskies.
Nose: It’s definitely Ardbeg: plenty of dirty peat smoke and earth. I’m getting a neat chicken/beef fat meaty note as well. There is, however, more of a sweetness and lightness here than in the regular 10. Grapefruit oil, demerara, and ginger. A bit of a dusty mineral note, almost slatey. There’s something of a cola sweetness in here too: black cherry, thyme, and caramel. Some shortbread came out after some more time in the glass.
Palate: Medium-light texture, and effervescent. Definitely fresher and sweeter than your average Ardbeg 10. Arrives with nectarine, white cherry, and honey, before deepening into seaweed, then earthy peat and ash. That mineral-water edge is here. The peat lightens into sort of a white tea and jasmine, before vanilla and chocolate appear, then it fades back into stonefruit.
Finish: Light and short. Woodsmoke-y and mineral, with some hardwood ash and charred grass. More tropical here: papaya, mango, lime, and orange sherbet. It sort of reminds me of whatever flavour Juicy Fruit is. More demerara sugar. Just a hint of anise and peppermint, with some rubber.