This should be more of a confirmation: every Islay fan already has its eyes on this Ardbeg Ar10. It’s part of the Elements of Islay series, from the latest batch that hasn’t been released yet.
Ardbeg Ar10 2001 (52,4%, Elements of Islay 2018, two bourbon barrels)
Nose: great. Creosote, iodine, wood embers and herbal peat, as well as a mezcal sharpness but also plenty of rounder vanilla pastry and custard. Creamy white chocolate and almond paste. Hints of lime and pink grapefruit (not quite the typical Bowmore fruitiness, but in the same vein). Deep tarry notes in the background, subtle thyme too. Rather perfect.
Mouth: sharp, raw, briney peat, with big ashy notes and bonfire smoke. Great salty bite, herbs, then more citrus juice and zesty notes. Gentle oak, but less of the rounder vanilla now. Orchard fruits and almonds. Less unique than the nose perhaps, but nicely crafted.
Finish: long, ashy, with smoked almonds and lime.
Great vanilla and bright fruits on the nose to balance the peat. More intense on the palate. Confirmed: just excellent Ardbeg. Around € 170, available soon from The Whisky Exchange.