Key West Whiskey Review

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Ardbeg Tasting Results–The Younger Drams Win!

The tasting was a huge success. Everyone enjoyed the Ardbeg experience as well as the excellent camaraderie that comes with such an event.
I attempted to keep this tasting as formal as possible and pass out scoring cards so I could see what Ardbeg was the best received by the enthusiasts’ who attended. Of the four people who attended only one was a scotch drinker, and as such, I was able to see a viewpoint that may have been somewhat unrefined; yet, was not tempered by biases of other scotch preferences. They were drinking Ardbeg, and knew nothing else of the scotch world—an interesting experiment to say the least.

The results of the experiment were not what you would expect to find. Everyone loved (hands down favorite) was the New Make and Rollercoaster. Young and fiery trounced such Ardbeg legends as Lord Of the Isles. I too love New Make and Rollercoaster more than the others; however, I was shocked to see this in others who attended. This is against what the common lore of scotch tells us—older is always better. And as far is this group was concerned; age was nothing more than a number.

Scotch ages on a bell curve and some brands have much older “sweet spots” than others. Glenfarclas, for example, seems to hit its perfect stride at 17. The 15 or 21 just seem flat compared to this specific year. Some scotches are amazing old, such as Macallan; however, some are best in their youth. I love the Ardbeg’s of many years and many expressions; however, youth is my preference. There is something in the extreme youth of the New Make. That Green unripe fruit and an explosion of smoke right on the finish—it’s fantastic.

I once discussed this matter with Davinia Small after a tasting and could not convince her this should be bottled. I told her I would gladly pay 100.00 for a bottle of new make. She declined saying it is too volatile in its quality without aging. I get what you’re saying; yet, let the consumer be the judge. I don’t mind the little differences in overall flavor per batch. Ardbeg you need to sell this in limited runs. Let the people determine the market and if they want to buy it. DO YOU HEAR ME ARDBEG!


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