Ardbeg Tasting Notes

Ardbeg

Ardbeg is another name in the whisky world that I have encountered on many occasion, and since we’ve just had Ardbog day (1st June), it makes sense to combine my experiences into one place and discover why Ardbeg won World’s Best Whisky for three years running.

Ardbeg, from the Scottish Gaelic: Àrd Beag, meaning Little Height, is found within a small cove off the south coast of Islay, its home since 1815. A gentleman named John McDougall founded the distillery until handing it over to Thomas Buchanan in 1838, who was a Glasgow spirit merchant, for £1,800. John’s son Alexander continued to manage the operations though until his death in 1853 where the company was then ran by Colin Hay and McDougall’s sisters Margaret and Flora (quite possibly becoming Scotland’s first female distillers). By the early 20th Century, Ardbeg trademarked its name and its distinctive letter ‘A’ after hearing that they are the most productive distillery on Islay.

An uncertain future came during the 20th Century where The Alexander McDougall & Co. Ltd purchased Ardbeg for £19,000 in 1922 before being bought by Ardbeg Distillery Ltd in 1959 and then Hiram Walker in 1977. Unfortunately, Ardbeg stopped production and closed its doors in 1981. Hope came in the form of Allied Lyons purchasing Hiram Walker, but ultimately closed again in 1991. Six years later, the Glenmorangie company purchased the distillery and in less than a year it was voted Distillery of the Year and producing 600,000 litres a year by 1999.

Ardbeg came full circle by winning Jim Murray’s World’s Best Whisky award in 2008 for it’s 10 year-old expression, before again winning in 2009 with Uigeadail and 2010 with Supernova.

So how does Ardbeg come about?

Ardbeg uses water from Loch Uigeadail located three miles away behind the distillery, as well as malt from Port Ellen. Ardbeg are also one of the very few that use a Boby Mill to crush their malt into grist. Boby Mills are extremely rare within the whisky industry and are more commonly found within breweries. After being distilled twice, Ardbeg uses commonly ex-bourbon casks but sherry butts and new French oak barrels are also selected for different expressions.
For a more detailed look into the production method, check out this nifty page.

As mentioned, I’ve been lucky enough to try some of the Ardbeg range, so with this, below, I give to you my tasting notes –

Ardbeg 10yr – 46%

On the nose, a subtle hint of peat mixes with light hits of smoke. Lemon and limes are also swirling slowly. The palate enjoys light, fresh combinations of cinnamon, lemons and limes with a hint of iodine.

Ardbeg Uigeadail – 54.2%

A smooth, mellow hint of peat with honey and sugar mixing well on the nose. However the palate has a sharp peat hit mixing with winter spices that mellows quickly to produce a rather short after-taste.

Ardbeg Corryvreckan – 57%

Light, peat iodine notes with lots of herbs and blackcurrant combining well on the nose. A soft blend of cream and spices start well initially, but develops into a rather harsh dance of salt and iodine for a short after-taste.

As you can imagine, Ardbeg isn’t one for cocktails, however it’s not too bad when it comes to being used within a garnish * –

Old Quartermaster
Old Quartermaster

Old Quartermaster

Glass – 

Coupet

Ingredients – 

30 ml Mt. Gay Eclipse Black rum
22.5 ml Famous Grouse scotch whisky
15 ml Pedro Ximenez sherry
4 drops Ardbeg as garnish
1 orange twist, as garnish

Method – 

Stir over ice and strain into a small chilled cocktail glass or coupe. Add the garnish so that each drop represents a point of a compass. Squeeze the twist over the drink, then discard.

Well worth a try if your ever in a bar that stocks the Ardbeg range. Or of course stock up at home, you need to raise a late glass to what is turning into an annual Ardbeg day anyway!

* Recipe courtesy of Gaz Regan.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Moet & Hennessy Whisky Tasting at Kro 2

It’s been that time of month again at Kro 2 with their monthly whisky tasting and this time Moet and Hennessy were the guests, bringing with them Glenmorangie and Ardbeg.

Again for those of you who don’t know what Kro Bar is, they’re a Danish family business who specialise in Danish food and beer. A popular idea in the Manchester area, they’ve expanded from 1 outlet to 5 in the space of 10 years.

Our host for the evening was Alex, and he took us through a thorough history of Moet and Hennessy itself and the whiskies they have under their portfolio.

Now I’ve personally never tried any of the Glenmorangie range, but i had the chance to sample Ardbeg at this years Manchester Whisky Festival a few months back. So with a rough idea of what my taste-buds would be expecting, below are my tasting notes on each whisky offered to us:-

The range of Glenmorangie on offer

Glenmorangie Nectar D’or – 46%

A multi-award winning Single Malt, sweet, rich vanilla notes dominate the nose with slight hints of toffee wandering soon after. The palate enjoys a slow build-up of spice, ginger and red berry that creates a warmth that lingers playfully long after.

Glenmorangie Lasanta – 46%

Another award-winning Single Malt, the Lasanta spends ten years maturing in American white oak ex-bourbon casks before being extra-matured for a further two years in Oloroso Sherry casks from Jerez in Spain.
Wild spice with lots of dry oak flavours mix well on the nose, with a smooth yet heavier flavour of sherry and nuts on the palate. Subtle orange hints on the after-taste.

Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban – 46%

Again award-winning, the Quinta Ruban spends 10 years maturing in American white oak casks, before being transferred into specially selected ruby port pipes from the Quintas or wine estates of Portugal. 
The nose  is light with a sharp mint flavour hitting the senses. with a slight spice nearing the end. The palate has a combination of dark chocolate and fresh mint, that mellows out to become a lot smoother after a few sips. Hints of orange are also detected throughout.

Glenmorangie Original (not tasted) & Ardbeg 10yr

Ardbeg 10yr – 46%

On the nose, a subtle hint of peat mixes with light hits of smoke. Lemon and limes are also swirling slowly. The palate enjoys light, fresh combinations of cinnamon, lemons and limes with a hint of iodine. It’s not as strong hitting as you may expect.

Ardbeg Uigeadail – 54.2%

A smooth, mellow hint of peat with honey and sugar mixing well on the nose. However the palate has a sharp peat hit mixing with winter spices that mellows quickly to produce a rather short after-taste.

Ardbeg Corryvreckan – 57%

Light, peat iodine notes with lots of herbs and blackcurrant combining well on the nose. A soft blend of cream and spices start well initially, but develops into a rather harsh dance of salt and iodine for a short after-taste.

Traditional Fish Pie

To compliment the whisky selection, the Head Chef at Kro 2 created a traditional Scottish fish pie involving haddock, cod and pollock, mixed with peas in a white wine sauce, topped with cheese and mash potato.

 

Another thoroughly enjoyable event in which we were able to sample a good range of two award-winning whiskies. Personal highlights were the Glenmorangie Nectar D’or and the Ardbeg 10yr.

Next month’s Kro 2 whisky tasting is yet to be announced, but expect to see advertising for it here as soon as details are released.

 

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Whisky Tasting at Kro 2

Coming soon is the fourth whisky tasting event to be held at Kro 2 on Manchester’s Oxford Road.

Following last month’s successful visit from Maxxium Brands (click here for the review) they now welcome Moet & Hennessy Distillery to the table to present their portfolio of Scotch whisky delights.

Their range will include –

– Glenmorangie Lasanta
– Glenmorangie Quinta Ruben
– Glenmorangie Nectar D’or
– Ardbeg 10yr
– Ardbeg Uigeadail
– Ardber Corryvreckan

Kro 2 will also have their head chef create a dish to compliment the whiskies on offer!

This must-go-to event will take place Wednesday 7th December from 7.30pm and will cost £20 per head.

For further details and to purchase tickets, you can either swing by Kro 2, give them a call on 0161 236 1048 or visit their website at http://www.kro.co.uk/kro-two

See you there!

Maxxium Whisky Tasting at Kro 2

It’s been that time of month again at Kro 2 with their monthly whisky tasting and this time incorporating the whiskies of Maxxium.

Again for those of you who don’t know what Kro Bar is, they’re a Danish family business who specialise in Danish food and beer. A popular idea in the Manchester area, they’ve expanded from 1 outlet to 5 in the space of 10 years.

Our host for the evening was Mike Green, the Brand Development Manager of Maxxium, and he took us through a thorough history of Maxxium itself as well as the whiskies they have under their portfolio. These included –

– Ardmore Traditional Cask
– Highland Park 12yr
– Macallan 10yr Fine Oak
– Glenrothes Select Reserve
– Laphroaig 10yr
– Snow Grouse
– Highland Park 18yr

Now I’ve personally never tried any of these whiskies before apart from Laphroaig 10yr, and i encountered Maxxium at the London Cocktail Week a few weeks back (click here for my review on Stolichnaya). Maxxium themselves are responsible for the sales, local marketing and distribution of many of the world’s leading premium spirits and wine brands including Jim Beam, Courvoisier, Bols and Makers Mark. The company is owned by two equal shareholders: BEAM Inc and The Edrington Group.

Back to the night, below are my tasting notes on each whisky offered to us:-

Snow Grouse – 40%

Served chilled. Smooth on the nose with a fragrant aroma of vanilla coming through near the end. On the palate, a sharp, slightly harsh flavour of vanilla with an almost tequila like taste lingering around giving a warm after-taste.

Glenrothes Select Reserve – 43%

Slightly peaty on the nose with hints of citrus lemons and limes blending their way through. A smooth, slighlty velvety taste on the palate, with vanilla and barley subtly making an appearance near the end. A slight malt burn on the after-taste but an easy drinker non-the-less.

Macallan Fine Oak 10yr – 40%

On then nose, smooth vanilla produces a slight sweetness aroma that becomes enthasised on the palate, although the flavour is rather short. A blend of walnut and butter mix well but result in very little after-taste. Short offering, but a great choice!

Highland Park 12yr – 40%

Slight peatyness on the nose with subtle aromas of honey and citrus fruits to give a well-balanced flavour. On the palate, it’s clean, almost breathless with a light texture. A low spice on the after-taste with a slight sweetness if you add a dash of water.

Ardmore Traditional Cask – 46%

Lots of caramel on the nose, with a slight peat aroma making its way through near the end. Sweet palate offering with a slightly peaty burn on the tongue. Some caramal and vanilla flavours mixing well too.

Laphroaig 10yr – 40%

Smoky peat instantly hits your nose, with sea salt following soon after. Iodine aromas flowing slowly near the end. The palate enjoys a smoky smooth vanilla with oak flavours resulting in a long after-taste with a hint of spice near the end.

Highland Park 18yr – 43%

Lots of toffee sweetness on the nose with some fresh fruit aromas subtly overtaking near the end. The palate encounters a very smooth blend of cinnamon and toffee with a citrus end resulting in a very mild offering with a slight sweetness.

Mid-way through the tastings, Kro supplied us with a delicious dish named Cullen Skink. A mix of smoked Scottish Haddock, potato and onion served with fresh oven baked seeded bread rolls. Delicious!

Another thoroughly enjoyable event in which we were able to sample a good range of whatMaxxium have to offer. Personal highlights were the Highland Park 18yr and Macallan 10yr, hopefully two items I’ll be picking up to add to my collection soon! Special thanks to Mike Green who displayed a great amount of knowledge of the whiskies on offer, and hopefully I’ll get to see both himself and Maxxium in the near future with their wide range in their portfolio.

Next month’s Kro 2 whisky tasting will be hosted by Moet & Hennessy Distillery. On offer will be –

– Glenmorangie Lasanta
– Glenmorangie Quinta Ruben
– Glenmorangie Nectar D’or
– Ardbeg 10yr
– Ardbeg Uigeadail
– Ardber Corryvreckan

Check out Kro’s website here – http://www.kro.co.uk/

Take a look at Maxxium Brands website here – http://www.maxxium.co.uk/

You can purchase the above whiskies here – http://www.masterofmalt.com/whiskies

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.