Ardbeg Alligator 51.2% NV
|Distilled date||Not Specified|
|Cask Type||New American White Oak|
|Cask Number||Bottle code L11 195|
|Condition||No Original Box Included!|
The general release of 2011`s much anticipated Ardbeg Committee Release -
It`s named for the high level of char on the inside of some of the casks used for maturation, which makes the wood look like
Serge Valentin (88)
Nose: this is very strange, I like this nose even better than last time (while I really frowned the first time). The first feeling I have is 'old Ardbeg', with these whiffs of burnt tyres, plasticine and 'forgotten seaweed', then more fresh herbs, radish, cress… Maybe also touches of rhubarb pie. It's no big on smoke and peat but it's still very, well, big. After ten minutes, touches of oranges and damp earth, clay, then liquorice and marzipan. No huge vanilla (great news!) and good complexity. With water: more Ardbegness, meaning more coastal notes here. Fresh oysters and clams. Or our beloved whelks. No, not langoustines.
Mouth (neat): sure it's no complex old Ardbeg this time. Straightforward, pleasantly sour (grapefruits, cider apples), briny, earthy, rooty and liquoricy. Then much more pepper and even chillies and mustard, as well as a nice sweet creaminess (apple liqueur). And once again, no excessive sweetness or vanilla. Quite big but easy so far. With water: becomes a little drier and, just like on the nose, rather more coastal and briny. Apple peelings. Maybe a little drying oak in the background.
Finish: quite long, dry, still slightly green, with notes of bitter chocolate and coffee beans.
Comments: I think this was matured (or finished?) in heavily charred American oak and I've just seen that many tasters have found BBQ notes in this baby. Aha. Well, I didn't, but I like it quite a lot and I think the way they managed to give this 'a feeling of older age' is impressive. Maybe tweaked, but skilfully tweaked for sure. Oh, and it's no peat monster.