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« Ardbeg's Secret to Success - The Purifier? | Main | Why Copper Stills Make A Difference »
Tuesday
Feb232010

My Review Of The Ride

Here it is.  No BS or hype (because I don't really need to convince people to buy an extremely limited bottling of Ardbeg, do I?). I don't normally do the breakdown like this, but I know people are interested in knowing how it tastes before they commit, so for the sake of the consumer...

Nose: It has the assertive aromas of young whisky, but they are not in anyway immature - it's more that they haven't yet mellowed.  Seaweed and peat smoke with just a smidge of golden honey in the distance.  It changes, though.  When you nose it for the forth or fifth time you notice more behind it. 

Palate: Lots of power and lots of spice right on the entry.  It's hot and I maybe should have added a bit more water, but at least it's Ardbeg - no doubt about it.  Lighter-bodied and completely without any richness or dried fruit components.  This is all medicinal with streaks of white pepper. 

Finish: The peat lingers, but because you're not getting much specifically on the palate, there's nothing really specific to add on the finish.  I get a brief lemony note, but then it's a continuation of what I tasted on the palate.  A minute later I can still taste it in full effect.

Conclusion: I just reread the above notes and they seem less than enthusiastic, but again I was being scientific.  For me, it is impossible to separate story from drink.  I don't want to drink something unless I'm intrigued by its history, its purpose, and its function.  When I buy wine from our store, I don't just pick the bottle that tasted good at our staff tasting.  The bottle I enjoyed last night was a Petit Rouge from the Vallee d' Aosta - a tiny region of Northwest Italy from which we rarely see wines.  Had I tasted the wine blind I wouldn't have been that excited, but that's the point.  I was interested in tasting a wine from that region so my fulfillment came from the experience of doing so.  Do I like the Rollercoaster?  Yes, very much.  Because of what it is and my love for Ardbeg, I really enjoyed my small glass.  This Committee Member whisky was specifically crafted to contain portions of every year from 1997 to 2006 in celebration of the committee's 10 year anniversary.  The fact that it is more than palatable is awesome.  The label breaks down the content by percentage:

1997 - 9.5%, 1998 - 12.2%, 1999 - 14.2%, 2000 - 10.9%, 2001 - 6.2%, 2002 - 8.9%, 2003 - 11.7%, 2004 - 10.6%, 2005 - 10.4%, 2006 - 5.4%

That's really neat and it's even more special that this not a bottle that will be available full time.  It is a whisky that was bottled once for a designed purpose with a specific theme.  The Rollercoaster is like catering for a wedding or baking a cake for a birthday - it's never the best food you've ever had, but hopefully it suits the occasion.  It succeeds because there's no pressure to do it over and over again.  It needs only to be a manifested expression of that one moment which it represents - in the case of Ardbeg, a decade of ups and downs; a veritable Rollercoaster. 

-David Driscoll

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