Strength: 51.2 %
Ardbeg usually puts out one special release whisky per year, each with some sort of gimmick. Recent special releases include Supernova, the second peatiest Scotch ever made, and Rollercoaster, a vatting of whiskies aged 3 to 13. This year it is Alligator, aged in super-charred barrels (that apparently look like alligator skin).
Alligator is big on vanilla, oak, and pepper. Deep oily peat lurks beneath the surface. On a sip, the liquid is sweet and fairly restrained at first, but then it hits you with a hard spicy punch that grabs your throat. Coffee grounds, cayenne, black pepper, and a nice lingering finish. Less peat and smoke than usual for Ardbeg, and a bit youthful but altogether complex and interesting. Alligator is like Corryvreckan's younger, punchier brother. 92 points (A-).
Other Ardbeg reviews:
The Whisky Exchange.