Category Archives: Ardbeg

I need your help – and you can win a 5cl sample of Ardbeg’s new Rollercoaster!

Sitting on my whisky shelf is a very nice & fancy bottle of the Glenmorangie Margaux Cask.  I bought this fine-ass bottle after reading this stellar review on the Dr. Whisky Blog

It’s been there for about 1.5, maybe 2 years now.  For one reason or another I decided that this will be a whisky for the most special of occasions.  My only problem is I can not think of an occasion that would merit the opening of this bottle!!  I look at it every single day and long for it but alas, I can not bring myself to open it up.

I need your help!

Any suggestions?  The most innovative/smart/clever one will win you a 5cl sample of the Ardbeg Rollercoaster.  Enter your suggestions in the comments below or on my Facebook page.

(Pass it on) Good luck!

This contest ends May 1st, 2010!  Pass it on and, good luck!


Joshua (Yossi)

Due to popular demand, I opened a store!

“Ask and ye shall receive”

I’ve had a link on my blog for a little while now but didn’t want to make a post until I had something for everyone.

You see, my guess is that a good portion of my readers are NOT Jewish (we Heebs only make up 2/10 of 1% of the entire population of the earth, chances are, you’re not a Jew).  And, if you’re not Jewish, you may not want a shirt, pin or magnet with this logo (but you may *really* dig it if you *are* Jewish):

If you’re not Jewish, but wish to become an “Honorary Whisky Heeb” you may *really* want some swanky clothing or accessories with this logo:

So, if you like what you see be you Jew or Gentile, come, visit my store.  If there is a certain type of shirt, mug, pin, magnet, etc… that you don’t see but would like to, let me know and I’ll try to work with you: jewmalt [at] yahoo [dot] com

I appreciate any patronage to The Jewish Single Malt Whisky Society store but, most importantly, I appreciate you coming to read my blog and your return visits.


Joshua (Yossi)

Ardbeg Airigh Nam Beist 1990, 16 years old

Islay region – 46%ABV – 750ml bottle – $79 and up | £64 | €71

So, a short while back the nice folks over at Shoppers Vineyard put on this amazing sale which, as of today (March, 12, 2010) is still going on – 46% off of their price on Ardbeg’s “Airigh Nam Beist” 16yr old beauty!!  Talk about a Sweet Sixteen!!  Take that Molly Ringwald.  You may never see a price like this again so my suggestion is to take advantage of it, while you can.

PronounciationThe Airigh Nam Beist is pronounced “Ari Nam Baysht” (which actually sounds Yiddish to me).  Thankfully, the fine folks at Ardbeg decided to finally come out with products we all can pronounce: Rollercoaster and, umm, well that’s all of them I suppose (discounting the 10yr which was released years ago and we all can pronounce that one, right?).

As winter is now winding down, my taste for the peatier malts is beginning to wane.  So I wanted to get this review under my belt before the temps started hitting 70 deg F and the birds started chirping.

Initial whiffs Peat (extremely warm peat, not like the citrusy peat you get from the 10yr), baby sick, quite fruity, gooseberry jam, the more you sniff, the less peat you get, grassy, oaky now but, not a ton

Palate Warming peat, golden raisins, silky velvet in the tongue, very sexy mouth-feel like the Ardbeg licked my tongue, salted olive oil, pine nuts (like a peaty pesto minus the garlic & basil)

FinishShorter than I expected (due to the 46%Abv?), here comes the wood; now the beastie is showing it’s age (this baby is 16yrs old, BTW.  It can start driving here in the US), lots of wood but not too-too much (like a good Chardonay — the crappy ones are over-oaked, the good ones are complimented by the oaky influence), lasting peat with a warmth similar to that of the Lagavulin 16yr.

In sumWow.  Astounding stuff.  Alone, she shines like the morning sun.  Next to other, more youthful Ardbegs, not so much…  Drink her alone, this beast is a one guy gal (or a one gal gal).  Don’t believe me?  Check out Whisky Israel’s Corryvreckan vs Airigh Nam Beist review.  Enjoy this one with your family during Thanksgiving dinner (for my US & Canadian readers)!  Drinking this made me long for fun family times, roaring fires and relatives falling asleep due to high levels of turkey-induced tryptophan in their system.

UPDATE – I’ve come to find out from a friend that these bottles could have 16, 17 or 18yr scotch depending on the code etched into the bottle.  L6 = 16yrs, L7 = 17yrs & L8 = 18yrs old (or, another way of saying it is L6 was bottled in 2006, L7 in 2007 or L* was bottled in 2008 which makes this 1990 vintage 16, 17 or 18 years old).  My Airigh Nam Beist is 18yrs old, not 16yrs.  It make me want to try the 16 vs 17 vs 18yr old expressions.  Anybody up for some sample trading??

Ardbeg Corryvreckan – Malt Advocate’s Whisky of 2009

Islay region – 57.1%ABV – cask strength – 750ml bottle – $79-89 | £60 | €66

Such a strange thing.  You know, when I first got into Scotch whiskies, it was the peatier ones that drew me in.  I wanted to do nothing more than drink brimstone.  The peatier, the better.  And when I first started drinking whisky, that’s all I could taste; until, that is, I started “tasting” whisky rather than “drinking” whisky.

Once I started “tasting” whisky I had a tough time getting past the smokey peat – all I could taste was smoke so I figured I branch out and try ANY whisky as long as it had NO peat.  I abstained from peat for a bit more than a year and during that time I really began to hone my tasting skills (I’m still not a professional by any stretch of the imagination but I can hold my own.  At least, that’s what I tell myself…).  I was feeling good about my whiskying (is that even a word? My guess…no).  So good that I decided to branch out a bit more and reintroduce myself to peat, slowly but surely.  I started with Dalwhinnie, sprinkled  in some Springbank (great Campbeltown malt!!), Highland Park, then winter finally came back to New England and I decided to get back to the big peat – Ardbeg!

Tasting the Ardbeg 10yr again after going through so many lighter Speyside & Highland whiskies was like a reawakening!!  I was able to start pulling out the citrus notes, the tea leafiness, brine — this was a whole new experience for me!  My eyes were reopened.

Fast forward a year and a half or so and we get the announcement from John Hansell of the Malt Advocate that Ardbeg’s Corryvreckan got the prestigious Best Single Malt of 2009 award.  I have so much respect for John Hansell and much of what he says has helped and continues to help me choose the direction I take on this fun-ass whisky journey.  This being said, I had to get some Corryvreckan for myself and see what this was all about.

So, here we go.  Ardbeg Corryvreckan, 2009 Single Malt of the year:

Initial whiffEven though this is 57.1%ABV, I had no problem jamming and keeping my nose in the glass.  Sweet smoke, big smoke but very sweet, briney (think sushi roll seaweed), lots of citrus, the smell of freshly tarred cut tree-limbs, telephone poles on a hot summer day (sorry for that one but growing up we had a telephone pole at the end of our driveway and there was some tar on it and during the summer it had a smell that was similar to what I’m smelling here).  Very complex.  Pleasant and making me reminisce of days gone by (this is what whisky is all about!!).

On the mouth Sweet & bitting smoke, oily but not as much as the Uigeadail, iodine, wet ropes, back to the citrus, maybe some figgy stuffs?

Finish Lasting, bubbly, like boozy seltzer, getting grassy (is this the stuff that made up the peat?).  A big smokebomb but so much more!

In sumNo where near as angry a malt as the Uigeadail.  Though close…  So the question is: is the the best single malt of 2009?  The great thing about whiskies and the tasting thereof is that it’s all up to you!  For me, yes.  It’s quite apparent that Ardbeg knows what they are doing.  They’re making damn good whisky.  This is my favorite whisky released in 2009 (that I’ve tasted).   Was it the best single malt I’ve tried in 2009?  No way.  Enjoy toward the end of Autumn or on a cold-cold night.  Bundle up, grab your favorite book and let yourself be taken away!

Moods are for cattle and loveplay – Gurney Halleck, Dune

So, one of the things I aim to do, to help stand out a bit amongst all of the other great Whisk(e)y blogs, is to try and equate/suggest different malts for different moods and/or seasons.

When it comes to seasons, I’m sure there are many people that would say something like, “yes, I prefer an Islay in the cold winter time” or, “Oh man, give me a wee bit of the Scapa 16yr and let me sit in the shade – it’s a blistery hot day today!”  Unless of course if you’re my good friend Gal who lives in Israel.  I don’t know how he does it but he enjoys the peatiest of malts all year round and Israel is one hot country!

The other thing I find, when choosing a whisk(e)y, is that mood can play a huge roll in what I drink.  On a hot summer day, give me Duvel Belgian beer, a Leffe, Coronoa with a slice of lime or (as I mentioned above) some Scapa – Something lighter & more refreshing.  And when it’s the dead of winter, sometimes I just want to take a chunk of peat, stick it in my mouth and light my face on fire – I need Laphroaig, Ardbeg, Bruichladdich, etc…!!!

You’ll notice in the left hand side there are categories for different distillers (this will, of course grow as the blog grows).  In addition to that, you should see a category called “What Mood Are You In” and one called “Malt Drinking Season”.  Under these main categories there are sub-categories which define various moods and seasons.  I will categorize my malts in these Seasonal/Moody categories as well as in the distiller ones.

If you have any suggestions as to new mood categories or changes to seasons, please let me know you’re thoughts and I’ll add them.

Let it be known that, for obvious reasons, under the moods category, I will not be adding the “I’m Sad” or, “Kill Me Now” categories.