I (and many like me, I think) had high expectations for Scorch as some sort of a second coming of Alligator. These were perhaps unfairly lofty preconceived notions, but let’s not pretend that isn’t the exact image that the marketing department wanted us to be smacking our chops to. I mean, ‘heavily charred casks’ was pretty much all that most of us needed to hear, aye? Let’s face it, it’s not like Ardbeg needs to generate any more interest than they already garner. But, hey…it’s tough to brake the hype train once it’s left the shed.
Whiskybase reports that this was matured in refill Alligator casks. I hadn’t read that upon release (shame on me), but seeing as Scorch comes a decade after Alligator, I suppose it all makes sense. Having said that…these barrels, assuming they once held Alligator, were obviously still active as hell. Make no mistake, Scorch is a big, big whisky. Hard to imagine that the Arbeggy folk won’t be pleased with this one.
But is it Alligator 2? That’s the real question, innit? Put simply: nah, not really. But I’m more than happy with Scorch 1.
Nose: Black current. Chocolate. Loads of fruit. Almond. Ammonia. Insect repellent (or bug spray, if we ain’t fancyin’ it up). Ginger beer. Veterinary horse salve. Charred scallops and smoked oysters. Melted Wellies. Dragon’s breath. Grilled lime. True Ardbeg.
Palate: Chocolate ganache. Ginger. Loads of a dry coal-like smokiness. Licorice or maybe horehound candy. Black licorice ice cream, even. Pine. Like licking a salted tarry rope. Lime and lime pith. Dry and ashy.
Finish: Spices carry through. Some clay. More black licorice. Lapsang souchong. Long and evolving.
Thoughts: Cool whisky. This is one that will be highly coveted in the years to come. Wish I had more than a single bottle.