Price Point: $50-$60 for 750 ML
Distiller: Ardbeg Distillery Limited
I never thought I would enjoy Ardbeg.
My first experience with it was about two years ago. My father was educating me on Scotch for the first time, starting with Highland malts and progressing to Islay. Because I did not have any experience with Scotch, the more peaty and smoky the whisky got, the more I was turned off by Scotch. Talisker was the second-to-last whisky on the flight, and I couldn’t imagine a more repulsive taste. That was, until I tried Ardbeg.
My first sip of Ardbeg tasted awful. I immediately told my dad that I would never drink this whisky again. How wrong I was.
To the trained nose, the aroma of Ardbeg is truly wonderful. It is overpoweringly smoky. It barely even suggests that it is a whisky. Even looking at it in your glass, it seems a bit off. It’s a very light colored Scotch, contrary to what the dark green bottle will lead you to believe. Ardbeg is opaque, in that even in a shallow glass, you cannot see through it due to it not being chill-filtered.
Ardbeg’s taste is completely unique. The nose really gives away the taste of this Scotch. Immediately you will taste the smoke and iodine. You are truly tasting the crashing waves of the coast of Scotland. I will warn any Scotch amateurs that Ardbeg is most definitely an acquired taste. You may want to save this one until you have a bit more experience.
Rating & Recommendations
Ardbeg is easily my favorite Islay Scotch. I rate it an 87 out of 100 because it is an excellent whisky, but not for every day.
Ardbeg is probably too high proof to drink neat. I recommend drinking this Scotch on the rocks.
I learned a very valuable lesson from Ardbeg. Just because you don’t enjoy a whisky the first time doesn’t mean you should give up on it. It could very well become your favorite if you just give it another chance.