Ardbeg Rollercoaster Review

This was the Ardbeg Committee release in 2010. It’s made up of Ardbeg distillate from each year between 1997 – 2006. It’s bottled at 57.3% ABV.

Nose: Slightly closed off at first as old peat emerges with lemon juice – musty, damp oak, woody mushrooms, and a slight plastic note.

Palate: Peat much stronger on palate with wood chips, grassy malt, toasted almonds, and still a bit of plastic in background.

Finish: Simple finish with cotton notes, peat, and dry oak.

Rating: 86/100 – Pretty much on par with most of their other committee releases I’ve had.

Value for the money: These are going around €400+ currently, and it’s an easy pass for me at that price. Unless you’re a collector, I don’t think this is worth more than $150-200 tops.

 

Ardbeg 21 OB (2016) Review

This is a recent 21 year Committee release from Ardbeg which was matured in ex-bourbon casks and bottled at 46% ABV.

Nose: Very fresh peat notes with lemon juice and tangerine cutting through. Sour candies, a bit of pine-sol with motor oil and beeswax. Peat is still quite strong for a 21 year malt.

Palate: Very pungent peat up front again with an ashy quality. Tar, lavender, and thyme round out the earthy/peaty profile.

Finish: Peat fades slowly with mint and thyme lingering along a perfect level of oak influence.

Rating: 90/100 – A very solid, no-frills peated dram that is very well balanced. It’s a shame it was cut to 46%, but it’s still quite good.

Value for the money: These retailed around $500 in US at release, and it is most definitely not worth the cost for an entire bottle. I’d pay up to $150-200 for a bottle if it were available at that price.

Ardbeg Day Review

This is the Ardbeg committee release from 2012 which consists of married ex-sherry casks that were previously used to mature Uigedail. It’s bottled at 56.7% ABV.

Nose: Strong peat with very strong fresh earth notes along with dried tobacco, campfire smoke, and brine.

Palate: Very strong peat again with cloves and pepper, straw, charcoal, and burnt leaves.

Finish: Anise mixed with peat and antique oak with chalky, subtle sherry notes.

Rating: 85/100 – A fairly standard Ardbeg for me. From memory, I don’t recall this standing out too much from the Corryvreckan or Uigedail. The sherry involvement is barely noticeable.

Value for the money: These are going for around €220 at auction recently, and it’s an easy pass for me at that price. Just buy an Uigedail instead for $80 or so.

Ardbeg 17 Review

This is a discontinued 17 year OB from Ardbeg that’s bottled at 43% ABV.

Nose: Subtle peat full of a rich blend of spices, old tree bark, chocolate, and a bit of a heavily salted parmesan cheese.

Palate: Soft peat with old oak, dried mushrooms, vegetal notes, and milk chocolate. Again, peat is surprisingly minimal here.

Finish: Heavy smoke with brackish seawater and musty oak linger.

Rating: 90/100 – A very nice Ardbeg – odd to have one where the peat is dialed down so much. I didn’t get any type of rubber notes which I almost always get from Ardbeg.

Value for the money: I believe these will run you about $350-$400 these days, and I wouldn’t pay that for this bottle. If it were available at retail, I’d probably pay up to $130 or so.

Ardbeg 27 (1973 Old Malt Cask 1/240) Review

This is a 27 year Ardbeg expression that was distilled in 1973 and bottled in 2000 at 50% ABV.

Nose: Very phenolic with rubber tires, decaying leaves, tangerine, and sweet barbeque.

Palate: Strong envelope glue notes with plenty of peat mixed among heavy ashes, lemon juice, and seawater.

Finish: Vanilla, sugary, with the peat and ashes lingering for awhile.

Rating: 89/100

Value for the money: These will run you close to $900 or so based on recent auction results (including fees, shipping, etc). I’d pass at that amount and maybe shoot for a 1972 OMC Ardbeg 28 instead if you’re after old Ardbegs.

Ardbeg 28 (1972 OMC 1/186) Review

This is a 28 year Ardbeg distilled in 1972 and bottled under Old Malt Cask at 50% ABV. These 1972 Ardbegs are supposed to be some of the best Ardbeg stock out there, and I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to try a few of them lately.

Nose: Pungent, damp peat with overtures of turpentine, old oak, brackish seawater, lemon hard candies, and decaying leaves.

Palate: Tangerines and lemon curd up front before turning to heavy ash and peat. Very peppery with sea salt and mature oak.

Finish: Wave of vanilla custard at first as peat mellows. Long finish with sugar water soaked oak and some iodine.

Rating: 93/100

Value for the money: These types of Ardbegs go for $1500+ at auction I believe, and I would not pay that. At that price, I’d rather go for Brora or maybe 60s Bowmore.

Ardbeg 28 (1972 OMC 1/234) Review

This is a 28 year Ardbeg distilled in 1972 and bottled under Old Malt Cask at 50.1% ABV. These 1972 Ardbegs are supposed to be some of the best Ardbeg stock out there, and I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to try a few of them lately.

Nose: Much ashier than the other 72 OMC Ardbegs I’ve had. Rubber glue with toffee and banana. Peat is there in spades, but has more of a burnt note lending to the ashy profile.

Palate: Burnt rubber with strong peat, smoke, brine, and spiced jerky.

Finish: Bitter and full of peat and ash with slightly tart fruits.

Rating: 94/100

Value for the money: These types of Ardbegs go for $1500+ at auction I believe, and I would not pay that. At that price, I’d rather go for Brora or maybe 60s Bowmore.

Ardbeg 28 (Old Malt Cask 1972 1/222) Review

This is a 28 year Ardbeg distilled in 1972 and bottled under Old Malt Cask at 49.5% ABV. These 1972 Ardbegs are supposed to be some of the best Ardbeg stock out there, and I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to try a few of them lately.

Nose: Heavy peat laden with a sweet vanilla. Rotting, damp oak with dried mushrooms and old rubber.

Palate: Very poignant peat with plenty of brine. Again, heavy rubber with freshly churned soil, slight tangerines, and a curtain of smoke around it.

Finish: Long with peat still dominant alongside damp hay, aged oak, and heavy smoke.

Rating: 93/100

Value for the money: These types of Ardbegs go for $1500+ at auction I believe, and I would not pay that. At that price, I’d rather go for Brora or maybe 60s Bowmore.

Ardbeg Uigeadail Review

This is part of Ardbeg’s core range and is a NAS expression bottled at 54.2% ABV.

Nose: Wet, dead grass, burnt hot dogs, brine, smoke from burning leaves.

Palate: Surprisingly little heat – strong peat but not as much of a burnt profile as nose had. Liquid smoke, quite medicinal, all with a bit of a sugar water feel to it.

Finish: Burnt notes return with bitter crunchy burnt hamburger bits.

Rating: 86/100 – A smoke/peat rich Islay without a lot of frills.

Value for the money: These go for $80 which is pretty fair, but I’d be more tempted at $60.

Ardbeg Ardbog Review

The Ardbog expression was the committee release in 2013. It’s a 10 year malt from a mix of ex-bourbon and ex-manzanilla sherry casks and bottled at 52.1% ABV.

Nose: Huge peat off the bat quickly followed by iodine, green apple, citrus juice ending with a prominent beef jerky note.

Palate: Pickled vegetables mixed among the peat with an overpowering burnt grass/blackened oak note.

Finish: Carbon notes from palate dominate the finish.

Rating: 78/100 – Palate and finish contained too much of that burnt/carbon note which overpowered the other notes.

Value for the money: These were around $120 retail which I would pass at. Secondary values are probably $250+ which is also an easy pass.