The other day, my man G-Lo, a huge fan of all things smoky, had suggested that we try a little Ardbeg taste-off. He had in his possession a bottle of Ardbeg 10 and a bottle of Ardbeg Corryvreckan. This bottle takes its name from the famous Corryvreckan whirlpool (from the Gaelic Coirebhreacain meaning “cauldron of the speckled seas”) which runs between the islands of Jura and Scarba. It is the 3rd largest whirlpool in the world.
Of course, the name of this bottle also proves Esquire Rule No. 706 – The drunker you are; the easier it is to pronounce the name of a Scotch.
The first taste of the Ardbeg 10 was far less peaty than I had expected and went down with a medicinal flavor. The tangy finish was reminiscent of Listerine or maybe an Altoid. G-Lo had already had the Ardbeg 10 before and tossed his dram down like a seasoned professional. While I fought back the medicinal qualities and thought of vapor action, G-Lo discussed the straw color, the notes of spice, peppercorns and how the water brought out the floral notes. At this point, even after adding water, I think I began to cry.
Still sobbing, I moved on to the Corryvreckan. Of course, I may have moved on a little too fast as I was still feeling the Ardbeg 10 and I no longer remembered anything of the Gaelic and instead alternated between the Kraken and Illya Kuryakin. At 57.1 ABV, this bottle was really potent. Without water, the whisky burned the whole way down and as I lost a portion of my esophagus and the vision in my left eye, I began to cry out “oh the humanity”. G-Lo responded with some sort of Alistair Cooke remark about the alcohol content overwhelming the spicy palate.
It was at this point that I began to hate G-Lo and the Man from U.N.C.L.E. and wish for the simpler days of Glenlivet or Glenfiddich. G-Lo suggested that with water the flavor of the Kraken was mellowed significantly. I asked G-Lo to shut his pie hole, and drank all of the water in an attempt to quench the fire while all the while hoping that my continued weeping would not wake Mrs. G-Lo or the G-Lo Jrs. I was now drenched in sweat and couldn’t feel my left arm. Could the Kuryakin have triggered a stroke? Or perhaps, I had committed the world’s second biggest mistake, gambling with a Sicilian when death was on the line. As my life began to pass before my eyes and G-Lo refilled our glasses, I wondered if this was some attempt by the Mrs. to cash in on our life insurance. I heard the discussion with the police in my subconscious as my wife passed off my passing as some sort of accident.
G-Lo’s voice brought me back to the present as he again offered up some sort of fru fru commentary regarding the color, nose or flavor of this damn fire water. I began to curse him, the guy from the Whiskycast and everyone in Islay, except the folks at Bunnahabhain and Bruichladdich who would have never bottled cask strength varnish and then trick me into drinking it with a Gaelic name. Much like the whirlpool it was named for, I have been sucked into an alcohol vortex and fear that I might never get out. When I came to, G-Lo was still prattling on about the merits of Ardbeg and how the Ardbeg 10 had received a rating of 96. Why won’t he stop talking about the whisky and get me medical attention?
And, now he is discussing the careers of Robert Vaughan and David McCallum. Yes, I am mumbling Kuryakin, not to discuss the TV show but to leave a clue to what killed me. Stop filling my glass! Yes, Clash of the Titans was just remade. No, I didn’t see it. Who keeps yelling “Release the Kraken!”? And why can’t anyone hear my cries for help.
Apparently, the “tasting” is over. I can tell because G-Lo has dumped me back over the fence and the dog is licking my face. G-Lo is a very bad man and Ardbeg makes some very strong whisky.
Categories: Booze Banter
Lies! Lies! Lies! We both know that there is no way that I could ever dump you over the fence. I am usually far too inebriated for that after one of our marathon drinking sessions.
ha ha ha
really enjoyed this “review” (if you can call it that : )
i have recently embarked on an uncharted voyage of scotch discovery, sailing with the prevailing wind. the very first bottle of single malt that i bought was (oh so serendipitously two months ago) an ardbeg 10, having had no fore-knowledge of what it might entail.
my one word review of it would have read as follows:
while i’ve gone to buy and enjoy sweeter and milder whiskies, that first encounter made me realise that i am a peat-head in the making,
currently i am half way through a bottle of ardbeg uigeadail. tremendous marriage of peat and sweet. i had thot that the high abv would be overwhelming, but this is not the case (in this case, at least). i find, however, that i don’t really feel like having more than a couple of drams of it in a session (my usual drink size is 50ml poured out of a 25ml measure). i seem to reach a stage of diminishing returns after that.
next item on my shopping list is a laphroaig QC. i found their 10 quite enjoyable, though not as much as the ardbeg.
i do realise though that these are early days and my preferences will probably change as i sail further into the wild blue yonder.
Oh, my godfathers, this was hilarious. Hope you recovered. I’m a massive fan of Corryvreckan, although I’ve been known to enjoy the taste of an old burnt piece of wood, soaked in briny ocean water and squeezed out over a glass. Yum. I’m kinda with G-LO. 🙂
Thanks, it was fun to write (and more fun to taste). I was with you and the “briny ocean water” (love the stuff from Campbeltown) but you lost me with the “old, burnt piece of wood”.