May 28, 2011

Ardbeg Alligator

Photo by Bill Dowd
Bill Lumsden, director of whisky creation for such labels as Glenmorangie and Ardbeg, likes to play around with wood. That's how he came up with his latest creation as well as its name. It won't be on the market until September, but I was fortunate to get an advance sample.

This will be Ardbeg's annual new release when it hits the global market in the fall. The name alone is sure to create some interest.

The Islay non chill-filtered single malt is aged in new, severely charred -- thus the "alligator-ing" effect -- new American white oak barrel. The resulting product is blended with "regular" Ardbeg 10 Year Old, then aged another year in refill casks before being bottled at 51.2% alcohol by volume (102.4 proof).

It has all the deep smokiness of Ardbeg 10 in the initial nose but with additional elements -- tangy barbecue sauce, cocoa, and a hint of ginger. The taste broadens to include even more leather and smoke, making one long for some spicy food to complement it (see my adventure with "chili and 'gator"). The finish is long, smooth and with a hint of sweet chocolate at the end.

Don't go scrambling to your local spirits shop just yet, though. Ardberg Alligator won't be on the market until September.

Suggested retail price: To be announced.

Go to Dowd's Spirits Notebook.

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