As a replacement for the much-loved 1990 Airigh nam Beist, Ardbeg Corryvreckan had some pretty big shoes to fill, but the good news is that this is a belter, winning World's Best Single Malt Whisky at the World Whisky Awards 2010 and Best No Age Statement Scotch from Jim Murray's Whisky Bible.
Whisky Bible 2011: NAS Single Malt Scotch of the Year; 96.5 Points
Colour: A very appealing gold, no doubt in part due to the French wine casks (good-quality Burgundy) in which some of the spirit was matured. On the Colour Me Goodd scale, this is luteous or aurulent.
Nose: Over-ripe oranges, strong bitter marmalade and hot-buttered toast initially, then hints of some more exotic fruit (perhaps fresh pineapple or passionfruit? Wine cask-induced?). Tinned peach syrup. Turfy phenolics are smouldering in the background. Becomes more citrussy with a few minutes in the glass, running the gamut from the previously-mentioned oranges, through Cointreau, then lemon sherberts, grapefruit, and lemon cheescake. Continues to evolve over time, which is always a good sign. Eventually more savoury notes creep in - Frazzles, some pepper, woodspice and an appealing breadiness. In a word? Appetising.
Palate: Rich, luxuriant mouthfeel - definitely more weighty than most standard Ardbegs. Good concentration of most of the flavours mentioned above but, after an initial burst of sweetness, becomes more savoury than a cursory nosing would suggest. The exotic fruit comes through as peaches and passionfruit. Peppery at full strength, with faint notes of damson jam. Generous turfy peat, but also becomes quite coal-like mid-palate, with a suggestion of the wet cardboard character sometimes associated with youth. In a word? Oof-aaahh.
Finish: Good length. The peat and pepper hang in there, balanced with a return to the orangey citrus notes from the initial nose. Decent balance and a lovely briny note right at the death - the hand is already floating towards the bottle for a refill almost automatically. In a word? Moreish.
This is a very enjoyable dram at full strength and I’m not inclined to add any water at all. However, in the interests of science, I will - just a drop, mind.
Nose: A hint of the Caramac bar note that I get with young whiskies emerges. The exuberant fruitiness that I enjoyed on the neat nose seems somewhat subdued.
Palate: Yeah, definitely a bit sweeter - notes of fudge biscuits or home-made caramel slices.
Finish: Perfectly pleasant, but lacking the charming grunt of the full-strength.
Well, you can probably grasp my thoughts - this is a fine dram, and at its intended 57.1% strength, very satisfying. If I’d tried it watered down without having already had it at full strength, I’m sure I would have enjoyed it that way too. But there’s really no need to be meddling with what’s in the bottle with this one. No water required.
Customer Reviews: (24 reviews)
Very, very nice. As a lover of Logavulin and Laphroig, I appreciate the peaty smoke nose, taste, and finish. All Ardbegs are excellent and each bring a subtle satisfying uniqueness. Always smiling with pleasure after Ardbeg, and this one may have brought a broader smile.
- Geraldo S., 25th October
Got a bottle of this from the girlfried for my birthday absolutley loved it made me buy more islay whisky and will be getting another bottle of this to see in the new years with
- Sam McArthur, 24th October
I was surprised to find that a sample I'd saved of a 2011 bottling was considerably tastier than a 2012 bottle opened several weeks ago. There was a tasty, Alligatorishly charred meat - gunpowder note present that I couldn't get out of the fresh one, making the sample richer in taste than the new bottle. Otherwise they smelled very much the same. There seemed to be a small difference in colour as well, the 2011 being a shade darker.
- M. Helminen, 6th October
I've tried it after Uigeadail and I must say I was really disappointed..is a quite a young whisky you can tell that by the smell and is a bit harsh on taste..very unbalanced.
- Szarik, 9th August
Another belter from Ardbeg. Distinctly different from the others in the range and equally brilliant. If you have tried anything else from Ardbeg, Laphroaig or Lagavulin and loved the heavily peated style then this has to be on your wishlist. Very fair price for such an immensely great whisky.
- The Colonel, 6th May
Looking forward to April 28th release for 2012
- Mach, 25th Mar '12
This is a very delicious version of Ardbeg. Color: straw. Nose: Briney, slightly smokey, ozone. Taste: Blast of smoke and peat. Very briney, reminds me of Bunnahabhain 12 but in a peaty and intense way. Finish: Long and dry. Superb whisky but young.
- anonymous, 8th Feb '12
I love Ardbeg, but this one is in a class of it's own. More balanced, more complex, more lenght. 1 word: WOW!
- Calvin, 11th Oct '11
Color: Gold amber 1Legs: Beautiful, thick, oily streaks. Nose: Medicinal, smoke, peat, mango fruit.Palate: Medicinal, smoke, peat, citrus, mango, brine, petrol, intense alcohol, and reminiscent of Lap 10 y.o. cask strength.Finish: Stays with you for hours. My goodness, this is wonderful stuff.Comment: Amazing, amazing, amazing. Oh, and uh, WOW. Outstanding. Grade A or 92/100. Which ever you fancy. Ardbeg delivers.
- Peat Gangsta, 6th Jul '11
Compared to the Uigeadail expression this one is to expensive... but as it looks some prefer this one. I go for Uigeadail any day! Way better value for the money!
- anonymous, 28th Jun '11
Explosive assault on the taste buds! Incredible depth, rock salt, smokey sea weed and chocolate orange. Finish leaves your mouth confused and puckering for more. Excellent Ardbeg expression.
- Ian, 17th May '11
Another masterpiece from the lords of peat, a 5 star dram!
- anonymous, 29th Apr '11
A brilliant dram.Not for every day use,but when you want something really,and I totally mean it,outstanding rare deep mystic mind-blowing,there is nothing else to drink...
- Alexandros G., 9th Jan '11
Lovely deep flavours and coal/smoke to the fore...it releases subtle blends of orange..spices/pepper..and as per others..a drop of water releases a beautiful "nose"...
- Vinny Marsden, 27th Dec '10
If you dare to put snobbishness aside, and rate a whisky purely on tase then Ardbeg is trouncing much, much more expensive vintages from the big names in single malt. Been there, done that. Ardbeg. No need to look further.
- Jeff Khan, 8th Oct '10
Wonderful Whisky, one of my favorites.
- Mike, the Netherlands, 18th Aug '10
A work of art. Utterly brilliant. However, I think I speak for whisky drinkers everywhere when I say: Let's hope that Arbeg don't get too big for their boots...
- Mr Claw, 12th Jul '10
This is weighty, coal like, smoky and there is lot of peat, of course. I can taste some citrus and burnt orange too. I did add some water (max 5-% in my opinion) and it opened even more flavours: dark chocolate, blackcurrant and some bitter fruit... Very rich, deep and complex malt indeed. Another Ardbeg masterpiece.
- Mikko, 25th Jun '10
Peatapal, this Ardbeg is a mix of different ages of malt, so there is no age statement, probably because there is some fairly young malt included. The taste is more important than the age, imho