Saturday, February 11, 2012

Review: Ardbeg Alligator

Ardbeg Alligator
Price: $90-$100
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:
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  1. I must admit, I quite like the Ardbeg/Glenmorangie gimmicks and weird names. If someone else were to do it and not execute it as well, then it would get grating, but I've yet to have a bad dram from either distillery.

    Now I'm torn, I'd intended to spend a tab at Whisky Weekend on the Corryvreckan, but do I go with the Alligator instead?

  2. I'd suggest haggling to get a wee pour of each for a single tab. The Alligator gets a couple of points for "interestingness", and on pure enjoyability is not quite in the same class as Corryvreckan. However, it would be a nice exercise to try Alligator then Corryvreckan.