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