Ardbeg Distillery Tasting (2018)

We did the Ten Green Bottles tasting. No, we didn't taste 10 bottles. We paid £40 apiece to play a game of spin the pointer to one of 10 bottles five times, with tasted bottles being removed before the next spin. The 10 possible were the standard Ardbeg 10 years aged, the Grooves, the Alligator, the Supernova, the Galileo, the 21 and 23 years aged, 1990 Single Cask, Single Day Single Cask and the An Oa.

Tasting with us were a Belgian couple. We spun the pointer rather well, getting the Grooves, Supernova, 1990 Single cask, Galileo and the Alligator. The Grooves was named for the grooves carved into the interior of the staves of the barrel, getting an additional amount of wood penetration by the spirit; the Alligator was named for the 55 second long char that blistered the interior of the virgin American white oak barrels leaving them looking like a gator's skin.

The Auriverdes, Uigeadal, and Dark Cove were also poured for our little group. Nice whiskies all, with my favorites of the day being the Alligator, which had a light taste of honey coming forward, a rarity in my experience tasting Ardbeg expressions, and the 1990, which was an exceptional whisky that we were told was a "mistake" as they apparently didn't expect to have this one barrel being barreled.

The Dark Cove has been my favorite Ardbeg expression prior to tasting the Alligator at the distillery's little private, stand alone tasting room (hut, really) made with the wood from an old Douglass fir wash back that had been replaced.