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.