Ardbeg Ten

"Balanced, good depth and interesting enough to come back to, in other words a classic"

(Photo from Whiskybase)

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When The Glenmorangie Co. acquired Ardbeg, the reputation among a small group of whisky enthusiasts, nothing like the masses we experience today, was already high. The new owners, themselves later acquired be the French conglomerate LVMH, managed to build upon that reputation with a new range of which the first age-stated release was the “Ten”. Nowadays, it has still a rock-solid reputation for any peat-lover. With initial phenolic levels of 50-55 ppm, the heavy smoke is tempered by long fermentation and sweetened maturation in bourbon casks. Over the years it has become an iconic bottling that every whisky lover should have tried at least once.

Nose

Sweet smoke combined with a row of open cigar boxes. The peat is rather fragrant with a clear sense of vanilla. I find also ropes, more cigar box, a hint of bandages, fresh tobacco and smoke kippers. It is well balanced and the peat is not pushing itself to the forefront. A hint of chloride in the background, while it tends to get sweeter. More vanilla, smoked orange parts, smoked lemon and hints of metal, probably copper. It also becomes slightly more ashy.

Taste

Powerful from the word go, albeit not overpowering. Sweet smoky flavours with vinalla, cigars, tobacco and old leather. Again the distant copper note, a pinch of salt, oranges and salty smoky kippers sprinkled with lemon juice. It stays fresh, balanced and interesting. It also becomes sweeter with vanilla pudding, before more lemon balances the sweetness. A focussed aftertaste with lemon, mineral peat and smoky vanilla.

Overall

Arrdbeg 10 has all the features of a classic Islay whisky. Good balance, good depth, and interesting enough pour a glass now and then. This batch was tended to become a tiny bit too sweet form on the palate, but that is just a minor point. Highly recommended for anyone who starts with peated whisky and still ahead of the bunch of peat-bombs that have flooded the market in recent years.

What others say

Whiskybase: 84.28 (20 votes) * @TheWhiskeyWash: 5/5 * @Distiller: 90/100 * @TheWhiskeyJug: 87/100 * @Ralfy: 89/100 * Serge Valentin @Whiskyfun: 90/100
Read for yourself

Big thanks to for sharing the sample!

Scores

these are my personal views, so do not take them too seriously… nothing beats tasting these for yourself •

Cask influence
45%
Sweet <-> Spicy
25%
  • Sweet peat
  • Vanilla
  • Cigars
Nose 87.5%
Taste 86.5%
Balance 88%
Depth 87%
Finish 87.5%
Score