Google Ardbeg Ten vs 10

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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

October 20, 2022



The Time Warp sessions,
today Ardbeg Ten vs 10


Just because I've never done this. Let me add, pre-emptively, that there's no scientific value to this kind of session, that all opinions are mine, that I'm one man only, that I've got very personal tastes, and that WF's principal cat is currently on vacation (saying that just for the sake of completeness). And we'll simply add that we won't mention the Distillery's famous purifier.




Ardbeg 10 yo 'Ten' (46%, OB, +/-2022)

Ardbeg 10 yo 'Ten' (46%, OB, +/-2022) Five stars
I don't think Ardbeg Ten has ever disappointed me, I believe it's the most reliable expression of them all (and what's more, there shouldn't be any 'Cote Rotie' inside, ha). Having said that, last time we formally tried it, that was in 2018 (WF 90 – loved it indeed). Colour: white wine. No attempts to use any 'boosted' oak, apparently. Nose: gorgeous. Oats, lemon cream, ashes, new wool, soot, tarry ropes, seawater. This remains exactly perfect indeed, even more so since this time, I'm also finding a tiny olive. Or is that fresh kelp? Mouth: it may have changed over the years, but every time I'm trying this expression, I'm reminded of 'Introducing Ten Years Old'. Circa 2000, no? They may have cranked up the peat, having said that, and the bitters and the very dry vegetables (artichokes and eggplants), as well as the small bitter lemons and, first and foremost, these mountains of ashes. As usual, there are also litres of lapsang souchong, the usual oysters and kippers, bitter almonds, and a massive tar-and-smoke combo. Finish: very long, with the usual suspects and, hurray, that tiny olive. Some superb candied citrus. Comments: one extra-point for that olive, what would you say, is that fair? Always such a joy to taste Ardbeg Ten (approx. 50-55€ in France) after having recently tried many very expensive whiskies on these modest pages.
SGP:368 - 91 points.

Ardbeg 10 yo 'Guaranteed 10 years old' (40%, OB, green glass, bulky neck, Rossi & Rossi Italy, 75cl, +/-1985)

Ardbeg 10 yo 'Guaranteed 10 years old' (40%, OB, green glass, bulky neck, Rossi & Rossi Italy, 75cl, +/-1988) Five stars
In my experience these old 10s were wildly variable, with scores spread between, say 80 and 95. We tried this very bottle within our 'Three Blind Men Again' session at The Whisky Show in London this year (the excellent Dawn and Hideo replaced Charlie and Dave this time). Colour: white wine, but slightly darker than the new Ten. Nose: completely different, much more on benzine, petroly riesling, flints and chalk, some proper chardonnay as well, fresh putty, a little salted caramel, husk, roots (celeriac)… There sure is some 'peat', but it's been digested, so to speak. Mouth: we're much closer to the new one, much, much closer, with almost as many ashes, lapsang souchong, tar, smoke, bitter almonds, lime, seashells… It's really fascinating that all this 'peat' wouldn't have decomposed into various fruits, especially tropical ones, which usually happens with most other Islayers, especially Laphroaig. Indeed, even in glass! Finish: pretty long and only marginally sweeter. Bitter beers, orange cordials, salty vegetables, and a very ashy aftertaste that 'sticks your tongue to your palate'. Comments: terrific and incredibly big at 40% vol. and after all these years in glass. Bur believe it or not (well, better believe it), I liked the new Ten a notch better, which does please me immensely.
SGP:367 - 90 points.

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