Last year on my visit to Islay, Ardbeg was the first distillery we made it to. It’s a lovely place with what is, in my opinion, the nicest cafe on the island attached. At the time I’d already had full bottles of Ardbeg 10 and Ardbeg Ugedail, so I wanted to pick up a bottle of something I hadn’t tried. I stumped for Alligator.
Ardbeg Alligator is so called because of the heavy level of charring given to the oak barrels it is matured in. Apparently the char is so deep that the wood looks like an Alligator’s back. Here are the dramstats:
- Non Chill Filtered
- No Age Statement
- 51.2% ABV
Nose: Smokey BBQ sauce and lots of BBQ smoke. Ground ginger, griddled steak, cola and dandelion and burdock. To be poetic for a moment, it’s like being at a BBQ on Islay with a tasty smokey marinade on good meat.
Palate: Smokey BBQ then a wave of pepper. Very spicy and rich.
Finish: Pepper, ginger, sweet BBQ and lots of smoke. Cola too. The medicinal side of the peat makes a short appearance. Maybe someone cut themselves at the BBQ?
Verdict: I just can’t decide which Ardbeg I like the most! I have a policy to always have an open bottle. I bought this for around £60, but the price has really gone up. I wouldn’t pay the current £80 it is selling for (and a number of places are selling it for £100). It’s great, but I still think the best value in the core range is the 10 year old.