Ardbeg Corryvreckan: A grower?

Here at EWB we are seriously cool. We are the guys that are the big deal. You know the type: fashionably late for all the parties and fashionably late in reviewing whisky. Obviously this is because the whole industry is waiting on the edges of their seats for the EWB thumb to go up or down.

So, fashionably late or just horrendously late, onto the serious business of reviewing Whisky. Sometimes when you try something new, you just don’t get it at first. It’s to different, new or just weird and you instantly don’t like it. Before I had even tried Corryvreckan, I had been told that I would not like it. ‘Not explosive enough’ ‘not Ardbegy (a new term?) enough’ ‘too pricey’. Now, in the previous piece Lucas alluded to our original thoughts on this whisky. The first time I tried it, I didn’t think much of it. It was fine, nice and all these other horribly average descriptions.

Last night, fashionably late for an Ardbeg masterclass (so fashionably, I actually missed it), I tried the Corryvreckan again. I was in the Members’ Room in SMWS Vaults, surrounded by some good friends and I had just finished work. This is the perfect tasting time, place and company to try a whisky.

Nose: Honey, malt. Digestive biscuits. Some nice sweetness and a slight sharpness. Pine wood and burned rubber. There is a fresh quality about it. Definitely an Ardbeg, so peat smokey, but with a definite difference.

Palate: Dry maltiness, pine nuts. Slight oakiness. Also a hint of brown sugar and a hint of apples. Obviously some smoke.

Finish: Quite a quick finish for an Ardbeg. Sticky and smokey.

What do I think? I think it’s an elegant aperitif Whisky. Quite a subtle use of smoke with biscuity sweetness. It’s a grower. At first I wondered about where it fitted with the other Ardbegs. It definitely does fit on the range and offers a before dinner dimension, the Ardbeg Uigeadeal being my after dinner choice.

I sank into the sofa, pleased with another hard days work and started tucking into my venison burger while sipping some fine beers and some more Ardbegs. Job well done.

Over to you Lucas.


Thanks Chris. It’s funny how similar your tasting notes are the ones I took that afternoon, when I tasted it with Davinia The Evangelist. A proof we are not making everything up after all… quite comforting.

But this is where the similarities end. And I must admit I am well relieved the whisky grew on you. I never wanted to give it a bad review… but was playing with the idea for a minute or five.

What is nice and familiar to you now, to me still seems like being in a dark room: I don’t really like the feeling and I don’t know why.

My best mate in highschool on one occasion, while off his face, snogged my at-the-time girlfriend. He came to me first thing in the morning after he sobered up, explained the whole thing, apologised, accepted the responsibility and asked for punishment.  Although she was a right slag and I had been planning to dump her anyway, I still never learned to trust that guy again. We remained friends and over the years we grew close again… but never quite as close as before. Corryvreckan is like that guy. That mate of mine is my person choice for this whisky. I love him, but it’s awkward.

I hope he doesn’t read the bloody blog.

On a different, more positive note, maybe for me Corryvreckan is just a question to which Ardbeg Ten is the answer? Hmm… yes, I’ll have some of that. Preferrably from the newest batch which is, and it’s hard to believe, even more citrusy and sweeter than the last one while eqally peaty, salty and evil. Heaven.


  1. Quick question: I was in the Glasgow Whisky Shop today browsing the minis as I like to do, and picked up the Ardbeg 10YO, my tasting notes of which I’ve been desperate to revise. I noticed that on the label it said “Unchill filtered” which I’m pretty sure it didn’t on the original mini I sampled – is this how I recognise the “New” 10YO?

  2. A good question James. Unfortunately I don’t know the answer. But I will ask Ardbeg people whenever I see them and will get back to you.

  3. [...] Edinburgh Whisky Blog has some curious reviews of Ardbeg Corryvreckan. [...]

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