Whisky Review: Ardbeg 10

Ardbeg—my first love in the world of heavily peated Islay malts. As I mentioned in my review of Laphroaig Quarter Cask, Ardbeg 10 was the whisky that originally turned me on to peated scotch. It continues to be one of my favorite affordable peated malts, so it’s about time I post a review of it. Not only did it open the door to peat for me, it also started my journey of going from a scotch drinker to being a scotch lover (and reviewer… and collector… and obsessor). Once I realized how wonderful a peated whisky could be, I started to see how diverse the world of single malt scotch really is. And I’ve been hooked ever since.

I usually spend some time talking about the distillery I’m reviewing when I post a review, but since I’ve previously reviewed another Ardbeg, I’m just going to jump right into this. If you would like to know more about Ardbeg, check out their distillery profile page on Malt Madness.

Ardbeg 10 Review

Type: Single Malt Scotch
Region: Islay
ABV: 46%
Non chill-filtered

Nose: Light fruits. Pear. Citrus. Freshly cut wood. Pine needles. Lemon zest. Ashy peat. Burnt caramel. Bourbon residue. Earthy moss. Ginger.

Palate: Earthy, vegetal peat. Green apples. Sea salt and maritime minerality. Subtle sweetness. Lemon candy. Ginger candy. Light fruit syrup. Vanilla. Black tea with sugar. Hints of bacon. Medium bodied, fairly viscous, and a touch oily.

Finish: Medium in length and a little spicy. Dry and lingering peat. Fresh mint leaves. Cinnamon tooth picks. Green apple and pear.

Overall: An Islay classic. There’s quite a lot of complexity here for a 10 year old whisky. I can’t think of another age-stated 10 year old that’s better (well, maybe Laphroaig 10 Cask Strength, but that’s not really a fair comparison due to the difference in ABV). Ardbeg’s peat profile comes out loud and clear in this dram. It’s fascinating to me how once you get a taste for peat, the differences between the different styles of peat found in Islay whisky (and other regions) can be so pronounced. Whereas Laphroaig is much more medicinal (“band aids”), Ardbeg is more vegetal and minerally. I love them both.

Ardbeg 10 is one of the more consistently affordable single malts around the world (from what I’ve seen). And for the price, this is hard to peat. I mean beat. (Seriously, that was originally a typo.) One of the best quality for the price whiskies you’re likely to find.

If you don’t like peat smoke in your whisky, then you might not care much for this. But then again, it just might change your mind and open your taste buds to the wonderful world of peat. It did for me.

Score: 88/100

Questions about my scoring system? Refer to the Review Method & Scoring Scale page.

For more reviews, check out the Whisky Review Archive

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