Review: Ardbeg Corryvreckan Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky / by Jason Hambrey

100% Malted Barley
Distiller Ardbeg (Port Ellen, Scotland)

This is the biggest of Ardbeg's regular releases, coming in at a hefty 57.1%, un chill-filtered and uncoloured. The price is hefty too, but so goes price/demand with Ardbeg. The whisky, itself, is named after the third largest whirlpool in the world, Corryvreckan, off the coast of the Island of Jura. The batches of this can be very up and down, and it has been described to me as an Ardbeg connoisseur as "terrible or awesome". I love giving this one to guests who have just been introduced to peat - I have certainly picked up quite a few fans.

Review (2016)

  • Batch: N/A
  • Bottling Code: L12 107 18:46 6ML
  • Bottling Date: 2012

On the nose, oddly, smoke isn't the first thing I notice- rather it is a mineral quality, cigarette ash, on the palate, it is big, with the alcohol making its way out front but not being undermatched by a lack of flavour. All those funky medicinal Islay peat notes - tar, rubber, gunpowder, The dryness is appealing, and there is some sufficient fruitiness to bring in good character and the drying of the mouth is pleasant. There's some sherry in here, too! More peppery and medicinal with some water. Beautiful finish with lots of charcoal and lighter fruit tempering the utter smoke and peat.

Score: 87/100

Value: 14/100 (based on $193)

Review (2016)

  • Batch: N/A
  • Bottling Code: L5917331072014
  • Bottling Date: ~2016

A bit spicier than the 2012 lot above…what terrific, mineral-y, peat! Vanilla, iodine, apricot, rubber, gunpowder, beach bonfire, oak, and yet a touch more raw than the other batch. Seashells, burning leaves, asparagus, mixed spiced nuts..with time the nose opens up terrifically with creamy, tropical fruit, maple fudge

Thick and ashy on the palate, with a very warming movement and lots of charcoal. A bit peppery, too. A good dose of fresh apricot underneath the peat, but, beyond the proof – the peat is lacking a bit of a supporting cast here. Or I thought so at first…it takes a bit of getting to know. Apple juice, dark cacao, banana, bits of tar and dense, marshy vegetation come through – but ever so slightly. Not enough, I think, to propel this farther – but the nose is terrific. The tannins do some good work too.

The finish is full of minerals, thick peat, pear, roasted (and caramelized) lemon, and vanilla. And some creamy banana cream pie which seems to come from nowhere. A touch better than the 2012 above, but just a touch - though they are noticeable differences. The peat, here, is just terrific.

Score: 88/100

Value: 17/100 (based on $193)