23 September 2011

Ardbeg Alligator "A Big Bountiful Ardbegian Bite"

In addition to the string of events in the whisky calendar each year, there are a handful of other dramming dates that enthusiasts look out for with an eager eye and a pouncing palate, such as the annual Committee releases from Ardbeg.

These bottlings are fairly limited to around 10000 -15000 bottles, but the good news is that anyone can become a committee member and subsequently buy these special releases by simply signing up via the Ardbeg website.

Furthermore unlike last years Rollercoaster committee bottling, this years much anticipated drop of drammage in the form of the hugely hyped Alligator has also been given a general 40000 bottle release, hurrah!

By the way if you’re wondering why the name Alligator, it refers to the extreme charring process on the inside of the barrel, which when completed reveals something not too dissimilar to the scaly skin of the aforementioned reptile.

The nosing kicks off with a garish gust of aromas from a Texan barbecue pork pit, that’s been fuelled by a perpetuating and punching peat fire. Followed by a subtle blowing drizzle of hoisin sauce and a light flurry of five spice.

Burnt cooled pork cracking and an accompanying bowl of oak infused apple puree make for the next set of nasal offerings, alongside a half squeezed bottle of HP Original Woodsmoke BBQ sauce and a jar of Crosse & Blackwell gravy browning.

A big wonderlicious wedge of lemon and lime curd tart, a plate of McVities ginger nut biscuits and a serving of tea stewed prunes then add a wealth of balance and contrast to all the aforementioned smoke and sauce based dramanagins.

The palate kicks off with a sassy smoked infusion of a Victorian chimney sweeps brush, a lick of a freshly tarred road and a gasp of air from an Arbroath smoke house. Sharply followed by the glugging gloopyness from the centre of a honey and lemon Lockets lozenge.

Pontefract cakes and the scooped crema from an espresso coffee make for the next set of palatable pleasures, along with an array of warm and wondrous winter spices, some very self assuring vanilla and a few more of those ginger nut biscuits, which have now become very moreish.

Sea salted caramels, dark cherry chocolate truffles and a bag of sherbet lemons then add another delicious and delightful dimension to the proceedings, before the reappearance of those tea stewed prunes and the addition of something rather gooseberry-esque.

Be warned you’ll need a comfy chair and a whole evening just to appreciate the true lingering, luscious finish that this particular drop of Ardbeg has to offer. It’s full on, unforgiving and wonderful in every possible way. Infact it’s such a class act that it even brings along its own cigar and puffs on long into the night.