The first thing we learned was that all these Ardbegs were too similar to have an interesting vertical tasting.
My dad and I had poured the first two, Ten and Galileo, and had a few sips, when our friend arrived, along with his strong aftershave. Within two minutes, we could no longer smell any peat. I know that after a while, you can get desensitized to a lot of peat, but this was rather sudden. It didn't seem to diminish the peat on the palate very much, though with all of the whiskies being very similar, it was easier (for me, anyway) to pick out the differences, and notice other elements. For example, the Ten became very herbal.
I'm sorry I can't give you my tasting notes. I'm not very good at picking out and noting the various scents and flavors. Galileo is partly Marsala-matured spirit, and I didn't notice a particular sweetness to it. My dad said of the Alligator, "smoky (as in fire pit ashes), leather, creamy, rum, molasses, butterscotch, malty... in that order." He also mentioned shepherd's purse weed and persimmon for one of them, but I don't remember which. Maybe the Alligator.
Our order of preference was Ten, Galileo, Uigie, Corry, Alligator. This was a surprise to me, since Uigie has been my top-rated whisky since I first had it, and also, when first trying Corry and Alli (side-by-side), I liked Corry more. So I wonder if, when trying them on their own, I would go back to my original preferences.
Also tasted a bit of Laga 12, for comparison. Same ballpark, but much sweeter.
Tried Octomore 2.0 (140 ppm) next to Octomore 4.2 Comus (167 ppm, Sauternes cask). Previously, we had felt that the 4.2 was much better, with the addition of the sweet wine maturation, but when trying them side-by-side, and after a whole lot of other peat, we gave 2.0 the edge.
So that's what I know.
I can still taste some scotch in my mouth the next day, even after brushing my teeth, and drinking a different dram after the first one can give you some confusing conclusions since the first dram still lingers in your mouth.
Neutralise your taste buds by drinking some water.
whiskgeek wrote:Our order of preference was Ten, Galileo, Uigie, Corry, Alligator. This was a surprise to me... I wonder if, when trying them on their own, I would go back to my original preferences.
What you may have been sensing is how these whiskies stacked up to one another in terms of overall balance, rather than merely in terms of sheer impact...
A very good reason to conduct such comparative tastings from time to time!
Personally, I find the 10-year old Ardbeg to be a rather complex and delicate whisky despite its obvious peat-imbued characteristics.
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