Ardbeg Alligator – Review

Ardbeg Alligator 048

51.2% abv

Score:  91/100


Ok.  To those who have been waiting…apologies.  About time I finally got ’round to this one.

I’m making a concerted effort of late to make these reviews a wee bit more concise.  I’m not out to write the great American (Canadian?) novel, but simply to share some whisky thoughts with you.  A little concision may be appreciated by those out there simply looking to decide to whom they should devote their loyalties (and dollars).

The answer once again (and no surprise to constant readers) is, of course, Ardbeg.

The folks at Ardbeg have such a strong spirit (I speak in terms of quality here) to start with that it seems it would be difficult for them not to release a great whisky.  I simply can’t even pretend to hide my bias.  Ardbeg are consistently making the best malt on the market.

I’m gonna dive in to tasting notes in a moment, avoiding all terrible puns related to the naming of this expression (which I wish some other reviewers had done as well), but I would like to add a quick note.  If you’re looking for something light years away from recent Ardbeg offerings…you’re liable to be disappointed.  If on the other hand you just want another great dram from the green bottle…well…right place, right time.

The nose on the Alligator is bold.  Not heavy-handed, but strong and assured.  Soot and ash.  Salty with a refined peppery character (think aged Talisker).  Licorice.  Chilis and vinegary BBQ sauce.  Orange and cherry bring the fruit component.  Finally, a hint of spearmint and a heaping helping of vanilla.

The palate delivers orange and chocolate.  Ever had chocolate cake with rock salt sprinkled on it?  Delicious (and thanks to the Miss who made this for me), but also a very fitting comparison.  Peaty finish and rich in campfire essence.  Loooooooong and chewy.  You’ll be flicking a tongue at your teeth like you just finished your BBQ.

A few members of the Collective recently sat down to a great Ardbeg vertical tasting (feature to come in the near days).  Out of 8 or 10 expressions sampled, this came in third.  The first was a 1977. The second a Corryvreckan.  Good company, methinks, though the points awarded are a little lower simply because it didn’t have the surprise and ‘wow factor’ that the Corry and Uigeadail did.

This sold out fast locally, and is said to be limited.  If you can find it…don’t hesitate.


– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

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