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Review: Ardbeg Alligator 2011 Release

19 Sep
DistilleryArdbeg

Bottling: Distillery
Age Statement: N/A
Brand type: Alligator
ABV: 51.2%
Price: $90-$110
Where Scotchfinder found itThe Party Source

Review
Ardbeg has been showing its real willingness to take risks as well as be an advanced marketing machine. Almost all of the releases in recent years has had the trademark Ardbeg flavor which I can only assume comes mostly from their wilderness laden water source. Peat peat peat peat.

I was able to get my Ardbeg Alligator by luck through some connections and I couldn’t have been more excited to try it!

Nose: 24

Ardbeg Alligator 2011

The “Alligator” taste profile name comes from the amount of charring done to the barrel. Imagine a log thrown into a bon fire. After a little while, the log becomes very charred and has a cubed-texture that resembles alligator skin. The charring has three levels, low, medium, and alligator. The more the barrel is charred, the more the whisky is able to physically travel through the wood obtaining the flavors contained in the wood. In this case, these are used bourbon oak barrels, so one should assume the bourbon would take center stage. Not so, actually. There are hints of bourbon on the nose, but after that, the bourbon is overwhelmed by the rest of the Ardbeg Alligator contents. Lots of smoke and peat as Ardbeg normally provides.

Body: 22
It is Ardbeg . It almost never changes with these newer releases and generally does not disappoint. The only exception to this is the Ardbeg Blasda.

Taste: 24
Here is what I was looking for–something different. The first unique taste that smacks the bottom of your tongue is the cigar ash tray flavor. This sounds gross, but for some reason, it works. This taste dwindles with each sip, but I have most definitely not experienced a taste like that before! Otherwise, you are going to get the staple belt leather, tobacco, and smokey peat. Yummy yum yum!

Finish: 23
Again, this is an Ardbeg . If you have had it before, you know what I’m talking about. The finish tends to be a reverberation of everything you have already experience and unless you brush your teeth, eat an onion raw, and chug some Dave’s Insanity Sauce, you will be tasting this buddy for a while. Ardbeg‘s signature finish is probably my favorite part of all Ardbeg releases and this new addition is no exception.

If you can get your hands on one of these, I highly recommend it for any peat head!

Scotchfinder Total: 94

FOUND! Ardbeg Alligator US release!

16 Sep
The Party Source Search – ARDBEG ALLIGATOR SINGLE MALT SCOTCH:

‘via Blog this’

The much-coveted Ardbeg Alligator release!

You may want to snap this up if you can. They won’t be there for long, that’s for sure!!

Thanks to DC Happy Hours for the hot tip!

Ardbeg Alligator released!

8 Sep
Ardbeg Alligator at Royal Mile Whiskies (click here):

Not sure if any of you have seen this yet, but I heard about it when I visited the distillery in July when it was being bottled!

ARDBEG Alligator
Ardbeg Alligator

I am attempting to get my hands on it and I will do a full review when I can. I am VERY much looking forward to this little nipper. Stay tuned!

Ardbeg Rollercoaster!

22 Nov

Tim at Addy Bassin’s MacArthur Beverages has done it again. This is probably the craziest moment in my Scotch fanboyism. Here it is:

Ardbeg Rollercoaster!

Ardbeg Rollercoaster (read the review)! My friend and I have been having searching for this little elusive bottle of Ardbeg lore for quite some time now. I asked Tim if he had anything hidden in the stock room of interest. He disappeared for a good 5-10 minutes. Just as my friend and I were about to take off with a bottle of Talisker, Longrow CV, and a six pack of Dogfish Head 60-minute IPA, he pops out towards in an obvious hurry (he has a special customer that trumps the Scotch Finder he has to tend to ASAP). He says, “I couldn’t find anything but this bottle of….”

*YOINK*
It took me about .05 seconds to recognize the Rollercoaster icon I have seen a buhgillion times online via Ebay and online English whisk(e)y buying sites that will not ship to the U.S. I snapped that bottle out of his hand with an accompanying high-pitched squeal. Tim was completely surprised at my excitement because he probably had several bottles on hand at one point, but also looked a little remorseful after the manner in which I apprehended it from him. You can see in the picture that Leone is covering up the “on sale” price tag… you don’t want to know what it says.
If you have ever wanted this bottle and cannot find one, rest assured. It tastes much like an Ardbeg. The Ardbeg Rollercoaster is very good but it is not as amazing as the Ardbeg Uigeadail.
I held the bottle for a solid 10 minutes before succumbing to my friend’s pouty eyes. You can now find it at his home bar (or hidden in a locked vault nearby).

Your Impressive Office Bottle – Part II (of II)

21 Oct

Let me start off by saying that this is a very hard post for me to write. I normally have a glass of scotch next to me while I tippety type away, but since I am probably growing bronchitis in my chest, I decided that maybe a drink tonight wasn’t the answer. *single tear*

So let’s get to it. You want to seriously IMPRESS the pants off of someone with a fancy schmancy bottle of scotch whisky. In this post, we are going to completely ignore all that is great about scotch for a moment–color, nose, body, taste, and finish–and completely empty your wallet on expensive-it-doesn’t-matter-how-it-tastes-because-you-empty-your-child’s-college-savings-fund-on-a-bottle-of-hooch.

Ardbeg Double-Barrel
Literally comes in
a gun case

The Ardbeg Double-Barrell$20,000 (BEFORE tax). I have no idea about this one. I know that it came from one of my favorite distilleries, but other than that, all you are getting out of me is the price, which is EXPENSIVE. It was bottled in 1974 according to the vintage amount on the Park Avenue Liquor Store’s website. You also get a few glasses with it in a crazy decorative case. Check it out.

If you want to impress me, you’ll have this on display when I come over to your house. You will also have one of the two bottles you get opened for me to taste. I will then give you a hug and tell you how awesome you obviously are. Then I will begin to question why in the world you decided to blow $20,000 on liquor. No liquor can possibly be worth that much money. Unless it was a historic stash from someone historic’s liquor chest buried at sea. That may logically drive up the price.

Black Bowmore

Next on the ridick list is the now infamous Black Bowmore. I have actually seen articles about this one and it is supposed to be amazing… even to drink. From what research I can find, it seems to be 31 years of age and super tasty. It also costs about $7,500. That is one hell of a write-off if you are buying for business purposes!

You can also see that it has a really interesting vintage look to it as well. The box looks like someone had their serf run back to the village and put together a proper vessel for which to transport such a fine spirit! I’m not going to lie… this one is one that I would probably be willing to spend $200 on one glass of just to try it.

The Macallan Lalique

Last, but most definitely not LEAST, is The Macallan Lalique. I had not even heard of this one until I started looking up insanely priced scotch whisky for this posting. Evidently, this one comes in a few different ages and bottles. They seem to be around 50 years of age and literally perfect. They better be for a price of $19,000 or more. I somehow doubt that you would ever drink it. Maybe if I was a hip-hop star, I would buy a bottle to pour out in front of a crowd of on-lookers who would have to do a web search to find out what I was pouring out. Oh, but would they be impressed!

The Macallan Lalique
Box and Satin Casing

I have to say, the bottle is quite elegant. The box/satin touch to the already eccentric bottle is quite breath taking. This bottle would also be a marriage taker if I were to ever bring one home. Especially now that I’ve announced to the world how expensive it is. Calm down, honey, I won’t drop 20 Gs on a liquor… Is she not looking? GRAB IT! YOINK!

The Macallan Lalique
You can’t even afford to insure it.

Have you made your decision yet?

Bassin’s and a Stash of Great Scotch Finds!!!

6 Oct

Hey everyone! I thought I would post a red alert to the fact that Addy Bassin’s MacArthur Beverages on MacArthur Boulevard in Washington, DC has a few amazing bottles that I have never seen here in town, especially here in DC! All unreasonably priced…. too low! It pained me to walk out of there with zero of these unbelievable gems.

Actual photo @ 7:10pm 10/5/2010

In order of rarity and amazing deal:

  1. PC6 $113. Two bottles in stock.
  2. Octomore 2nd Edition$126. Two bottles in stock.
  3. PC7 – $91. One bottle in stock. I paid $150 for this one and had to have it shipped through New York City. Needless to say, I was pretty shocked/pissed/dumbfounded!
  4. Ardbeg Corryvreckan – I can see a few bottles on the shelf. I’m sure it is under $100 if I know Bassin’s. This one pops its head up locally now and then, but it usually is not on the same shelf for very long.
  5. Ardbeg Supernova 2010 Edition – Several bottles. They have been rotating their stock really well since my friends and I wiped out their entire stock a couple of months ago! If my experience has taught me anything, I feel that this one is going to be a new mainstay for the foreseeable future in the Ardbeg line-up along with…
  6. Ardbeg Uigeadail – Several bottles. Last time I saw a price on this one, it was $69.99. That is the most sick price I’ve ever seen for this bottle which you normally can’t be found for less than $90. I believe that this one will also be around for years to come, but you won’t find this one at your local VABC or Montgomery County liquor store! And definitely not at this price.
I recommend that you give them a call, give them your credit card number and pick one of these awesome bottles up while you can. These bottles are ALL killer bottles and would make great gifts.
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=addy+bassins&sll=38.834885,-77.092934&sspn=0.007104,0.01472&ie=UTF8&hq=addy+bassins&hnear=&ll=38.91766,-77.096495&spn=0.056751,0.11776&z=13&iwloc=A&cid=7167423570352720943&output=embed
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Yeah, I know. Those last few sentences sounded like an advertisement. I assure you that I am only looking out for your scotch well-being. I get no commission for this one.

UPDATE 10/6/2010 1:55PM
The one PC7 and one of the PC6s in stock are now gone.

The Whiskies I Cannot Live Without

20 Sep

You can look to the right of this blog and see my current stash and recognize fairly quickly that I am not someone who just dabbles in scotch whisky. I can never seem to get to a place that makes me feel like I have experienced everything I want to experience with the Water of Life.

There are several bottles listed, however, that I am certainly glad to have experienced but would not feel any sort of impulse to replace them upon their certain bottle of emptiness doom. Much like humans in life, the end is inevitable!
On the other hand, there are several bottles and types of whisky that upon completion, I feel not only an empty space in the bar where one of my favorite single-malts were housed, but also an emptiness in my heart (or belly, whichever seems to make the most sense for you). The following list is not a ranking by any means; they all play an important roll in filling a special taste craving and appreciation that should last through the ages.
Ardbeg 10-year
Ardbeg 10-Year from Port Ellen on the Isle of Islay

The Ardbeg 10-Year shown above is an amazing blast of peat and smoke. The heavy earth flavor and taste of tabacco makes this an absolute gem. Put a $50 price tag on it and you get more bang for your buck than almost anything out there. See this one for under $50 and you would be a fool not to purchase it.

Talisker 10-year
Talisker 10-Year from the Isle of Skye
Ah Talisker 10-Year. This one holds a special place in my heart due to my first bottle arriving during my bachelor party weekend with my best of friends. Of course, none of my friends were into scotch at the time, so I mostly drank it alone that weekend. Since then, many of those same friends have fallen for this wonderful concoction from the Isle of Skye. It has so much peppery goodness wrapped in its delicate smoke, I just replaced it this week at random join in Baltimore that had it on sale for $45. You can’t buy this in Washington, DC for under $65. Welcome back, Talisker! You were sorely missed!
Highland Park 18-year
Highland Park 18-Year from OrkneyHighland Park 18-Year is nearly the most perfect scotch on the market. Sweet. Smokey. Well balanced. Even body. Almost simple in presentation with the most complicated of flavors for any scotch nut and any scotch beginner. It can get a little pricey and, from what vendors have been telling me, Highland Park is raising its prices and screwing things up. The bottles are not moving as fast and a once $85 bottle has now become a shelf duster at $100+. I have seen it on store shelves for $115 before. That makes me sad. This is too good to start hiking prices and thinking that you are The Macallan with your fancy schmancy name and history. Alas! This one is almost too good for me to drink sometimes. I nurse this bottle like it is the last one on earth.
Lagavulin 16-year
Lagavulin 16-Year from Islay

I am almost tired of writing about this guy. It is big. It is smokey. It has a wonderful brown color. It is always good. If you do not have it, put it on your shortlist. MRSP $69.99. If you see it for any more than that, keep looking. If you see it for under $60, buy the entire stock and let me know.
A Sherried Highland Speyside
The Macallan 12-Year Highland SpeysideI have a picture of The Macallan 12-year above as a representation ONLY. It may be one of the better and bigger sherried highland speyside out there, but it is also a cliche to me. Sure it is good. DAMN good, even. But when I see this sucker at every bar in America where the bartenders don’t even know what it is, it makes me sad. It is like the Heinz Ketchup of trash bars who want to look cool or have something decent on hand when Mr. Dad O’College Student stops in before taking their kid home for the summer. Other really nice sherried highland’s worth having on hand (and a matching nice price tag to boot!):
  • Abelour 16-Year Double Matured
  • Glenmorangie Lasanta
  • Balvenie 12-Year Double Wood

A Highland costal gem
Old Pulteney 17-Year distillery bottling from the northern highland coastal regionOld Pulteney 17-Year is pictured above because it is probably my favorite coastal highland. These tend to have a sea salt landscape with sweetness and ease of drink. Very relaxing, very tasty, very every-day-yes-please. Another wonderful example is Clynelish 14-year.

All of the ones I’ve mentioned I have been able to find for between $40-$100. The market demand is driving up prices and not making things very easy for the non-filthy rich so make sure you get some while you stil can!

What are your favorites?