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the Ardbeg Committee was notified by Ardbeg of a new release available June 1. Ardbeg Alligator. thanks to the initiative of Bother Hoopie I was able to obtain a bottle. Keep on the look out as more may be available on Sep 1. below is some info I could find on it from some early tastings. Brother lakeview and I will post our tastings soon. I will share it with the KOTQ group in a future meeting!

My findings: the real highlight was a chance to try one of Ardbeg’s newest creations side by side against one of their most legendary drams. Ardbeg Alligator is to be the next committee bottling, released on the 1st June and is the latest in a new line of wood experiments from Dr Bill Lumsden. A number of heavily charred (level 4) first fill bourbon casks have been maturing since 2000, peated to the standard Ardbeg level of 55ppm. Having tried some of Ardbeg’s heavily toasted cask experiments (single casks 1189 and 1190 from 2009’s Feis Ile) we were itching to see how the heavy char affected the whisky. Here’s our thoughts:

Ardbeg Alligator – Committee release – 51.2% – around 10,000 bottles

Nose: Immediate spicy, fruity notes, with rolled oak shavings, BBQ charcoal, stewed apples, white pepper and hints of strong tea and fresh bourbon. With a dash of water the whisky really comes alive with wonderful rich vanilla tones, chocolate orange notes and hints of copper. Sterling stuff.

Palate: Big, resonant and dry, leading into more of the chocolate orange notes, sweet vanilla, hints of Five Spice and more stewed apple. Then the smoke arrives, soft, aromatic and gentle at first, giving this a superb complexity.

Finish: The sweet vanilla develops alongside the soft smoke for a very lengthy and pleasing finish.

Overall: What a mega whisky. We were critical of the last committee bottling (Rollercoaster) and its apparent lack of consistency and overly youthful tones, but Alligator is just brilliant. Rich, complex and spicy, it puts Ardbeg right back up there in terms of how to construct a highly drinkable and complex smoky whisky. Miss this one at your peril.

William Grant born in Dec. 1839 founded Balvenie Distillery.

Mr Grant became bookeeper at Mortlach distillery in 1866. While working there, he began a 20 year study of the distillery process. He worked his way up in the organization eventually moving to the clerk of the distillery and finally became the manager.

After almost twenty years of learning the art of distilling, William Grant resigned from his job at the Mortlach distillery and bought a field beneath the towering shadow of The Balvenie Castle. He then drew up plans for his distillery and the foundation stone was laid in the autumn of 1886.
However a new opportunity presented itself to Mr Grant.

The Balvenie New House became available and wasa purchased by William Grant in March of 1892. Uninhabitable and austere, it was a building of some grandeur with the coat of arms of the Duffs carved into the pediment of its second story

The basement was to become a bonded store for maturing whisky, the first storey a malt floor, whilst the upper two floors were to be used as grain lofts.

The building took fifteen months to complete and on 1st May 1893, the first distillation took place at The Balvenie Distillery