Apr 14, 2015

Whiskey Review: The Best Ardbeg Ten, Hands Down

The Whiskey Jug reviews Ardbeg TEN L0 041, a batch brewed from 1990 barrels.

Ardbeg TEN Review - L0 041

Ardbeg TEN L0 041 comes from barrels that were mostly filled in 1990, but there also being barrels here from the ’89 re-opening is a distinct possibility. The distillery was closed from 81-89. When it re-opened in 89 it was only open for distillation 2 months out of the year till it was closed again in ’96. That means there was very little whisky made in 1990 and so would have pulled barrels from ’89.

Then consider the fact that the Nam Beist is a 1990 vintage which means all the bottle of that worldwide distributed whisky, that was produced form 2006-2008. had to come from what was laid down in the 2 operational months in 1990. Which means if they had used a ton of those barrels in the L0 then the Beist probably wouldn’t have been the size of a release it was and it’s much more likely they were putting ‘89 barrels in the 10 back then to make room for newly filled ones. Of course there are no records showing that exactly, so all we know for 100% is that at the very least some of the whisky in this bottle was distilled in 1990.

Ardbeg TEN Review – L0 041

Distiller: Ardbeg
Age: 10 years
ABV: 46%
Bottling:L0 041 4ML 0911
Price: NA (auction / dusty)

Non-Chill Filtered
Natural Color

EYE
Honey (the darkest Ardbeg TEN I’ve seen)

NOSE
Peat, complex fruit and a sherry-like sweetness move out first followed by notes of honey, rich spice, saline, vanilla, and a dark earthy quality that adds a nice bit of dimension to the aroma. Some light notes of brown sugar, toasted pastry, buttery caramel and iodine continue to add more dimension and depth.

PALATE
Ho… ly… crap. I can’t believe this is an Ardbeg 10. Thick rich peat, malty sweetness, complex fruit and complex spice coat the mouth, but don’t suffocate it allowing lighter notes of saline, antiseptic, dark sweets, red licorice and a nice woody earthiness to come through.

FINISH
Long and supple fade of peat, fruit, spice, honey and that woody earthy character.

BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
Perfectly balanced with a rich round body and a thick velvety texture.

OVERALL
Ardbeg TEN L0 041 is the best Ardbeg TEN I’ve had… it’s just magnificent. It’s deep, it’s rich, its’ complex, it’s different. I love the current Ardbeg, but this is a bit of a different beast and has a stronger sense of that dark earthiness I’ve found in the old Allied Ardbegs, but not in the current ones. I’m not exactly sure what caused that, but i like it and if you can find yourself some Allied distilled Ardbeg I recommend you do and try it side by side with the newer stuff and experience it for yourself. You may like it more, you may like it less, but at least you’ll know and knowing is half the battle.

SCORE: 92/100

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tagged ardbeg, whiskey, taste, liquor review