Bought – Wine Rack, 18th September 2013
I first tasted the Ardbeg 10yo about 15 years ago during a whisky tasting night with my brother, uncle and cousin. It tasted superb! The smell made me think of Islay, with the salty spray of the sea, the chunky seaweed on the rugged rocks and the peats being cut from the land to burn in the wee but and ben. What a heavenly dram!
Jump forward 15 years and I crack open a bottle of Ardbeg 10yo with nothing but fond memories. I smell it and….OMG! What is this shit?! Has it always been this medicinal? The smell takes me back to a hospital ward my grandfather was put in where most patients never made it out alive. As you can imagine, the tasting didn’t go too well after that. My love of Ardbeg now lay in tatters.
6 months later and I tentatively try the same Ardbeg bottle again. Wow, that’s more like it! The medicinal hit had mellowed and everything beautiful about Ardbeg is there again. Now, why was that? Had the space in the open bottle allowed the remaining whisky to breath, and the medicinal smell had drifted away? Or perhaps some other unforeseen factor was at play here? Whatever it was, I’ve now had several tastings over the weeks and my love of the Ardbeg 10yo has been restored. A quality dram on all levels but perhaps one that needs time to breath in an open bottle.