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A full bottle review, written over some time:
N: An exotic creaminess on the nose suggests there’s more age in this 2012-13 bottle than the Bruichladdich PC8 i have alongside. There appears to be enough steady ‘slow & sure’ wood maturation framed around soft & sweet creamy vanillas and a sweet-sour allium vegetal youthful freshness with a hint of sherried rancio, horse-meat and porcini mushrooms in the background for the anticipation to grow. It’s a vibrant yet also relaxed & inviting nose. The oily phenols permeate the nasal airwaves on opening and remain doing so many months after, accompanied with a burnt-tyre, briny vegetal oiliness - the burnt note a mix of char and a whiff of desirable sulphur notes, it would appear. The smoke remains integrated but never obtrusive. I get further descriptors along the lines of pickled onions & salt n vinegar crisps mixed with crambe maritima/sea kale, moules mariniere, salty eggs [something about the connection between the sea, salt and chip shops going on here], more burned rubber [bands], onion tart and a soft=sweet peatiness. Not sure i’d immediately guess this as Ardbeg straight-off though comparing this with Ardbeg new make from the same period, the similarities are rather profound. Sweet meat, pickled onions [again,] plenty more salted crisps…. it's a busy nose. As time goes on, there are more resemblances to Port Charlotte, some Octomore and even a little shout to Kilchoman too - so this is turning out to be quite the Islay tribute. With an amazingly dry-salty yet vibrant oily-slick & sweet n sour nose - how could anything else but good whisky create such an oxymoronic=phenomena?
T: The cask mix is rather tremendous, opening with a [bourbon?] savoury=sweet sea-vegetal freshness, an oaky-creamy smokiness and a well-weighted, fruity [sherried?] body - the mix making sure this concoction remains youthfully savoury-sweet [bourbon?] balanced with [a sherried?] older element. Now it’s an oak=oily=peated, ashtray=bonfire-smoked malt with a truly desirable barley body with something of Bruichladdich at its heart and resemblances with the PC8 and its allium-vegetal centre that are most apparent, all with a watered mouth chew. It just falls away on the second half of the palate.
F: Those creamy vanillas are back with more action before more smoky/malty-allium/vegetal-peat. There's a dry smouldering oak finish and with Serge’s cider note WF that is spot on - that man is brilliant. Dry bonfire smoke mixed with hot sauna pine wood concludes,….. but then again, the finish isn't finished. There’s then more swirling between the sweet-sour and smoky dry woods, and just when you think the dry smoke is closing up, the sour-sweet vegetal-bourbon vanillas come back for more. For me, that vegetal-sour, sweet-vanilla remains key to Corryvreckan’s appeal.
C: A rather decent bottle from 2013 [that thankfully, I have one bottle of left from that year]. I would love to have the opportunity to compare two or three Corryvreckan’s from different years side-by-side - has that been done? Over the duration, I scored this between 88-90, so reasonably i’ll go with 89 - the palate falling away, the decider Blog.
Scores a B+
Tiefer Rauch und Torf, dunkle Schokolade, Öl, Teer, sumpfige Erde, bittere Eiche, ein paar Beeren
Volle Kraft, Algen, Torf, Kaffee und deutlicher Pfeffer, Anis und Saffran
Lang, kräftig rauchig, torfig, Malz, Arsche
Interessanter als der Ten zumindest, wenn Rauch und Torf ohne Sherry, dann eher so
[March, 2017] Another Ardbeg re-taste: When the first Corryvreckan was released I found it not just a very interesting dram with a new, never before tasted profile (due to its share of virgin oak matured malt) but it became my favourite modern Ardbeg too. And I scored it with 89 points.
Today I tried a recent bottling of the Corryvreckan and - what a disappointment: It is rather unbalanced and with a slightly drying/bitter finish (not as extreme as with the recent TEN or Uigeadail, but still unpleasant). I guess Ardbeg increased the share of virgin oak matured spirit in this recipe significantly and these higher proportion of heavy tannins (and lower share of sweet bourbon flavours) harm not just the balance but the mouthfeel too.
This is most probably due to the problem that LVHM has difficulties in sourcing enough bourbon casks from the US. The scotch whisky boom came at a time when the US whisky industry was in deep recession - so the Scotch demand for used bourbon casks was and still is much higher than the US distilleries can supply. As a consequence the Scottish distilleries cut down the maturation times to use the same cask more often (and masked this by introducing NAS whiskies) AND (as this was not enough) they had to use virgin oak casks in addition. For sure they market this as an intentional strategy, but it is pure despair in the end. What can do you if you do not have enough good quality casks at your hands?
The outcome is devastating (at least to my tastebuds), but hopefully they create a new followership among all the new whisky afficionados that do not know how good Ardbeg and all the other great drams once tasted...
Peat smoke. Reminds me of a rubber shoe sole of a new shoe. Lemon zest, berries, some butter, vanilla, tar, sea salt, sea breaze, rosemary.
Creamy and oily. Starting with some nice peat smoke that fills the mouth. Tangy and peppery. Some tobacco.
The peat smoke still stays in your mouth, becoming a little dryer. Spicy and tangy. Mouthwatering. Sour. A long aftertaste with some bitter chocolate in the end. Maybe even some bitte oranges. Warming as it runs down the throat.
Neat stuff. Recommended.
Stark i lukten och svår att ta ut lukter då den höga % tar över lite.
Stark direkt i både mage mun och hals,hög % smak med eftersmak som lutar mycket åt peppar.
Pepprig och brännande.
En mycket god ardbeg.
very smoky, very tarry. brine and olives, camphor. a grapefruit in the background. gym socks. initially a little harsh but that´s getting better with some time in the glass.
very smoky, very tarry, slightly briny. it starts almost sweet but getting drier very soon. water improves it still a little and makes it more accessible.
long, smoky , tarry , warming
had it head to head with uigeadaill and I find both have a similar quality though they are different.
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