Ardbeg Aligator – featuring kdz13

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I did this review about a two years ago side by side so to say with a fellow redditor called kdz13, whom I send a sample of this for his birthday. The quoted words are his, which he granted me permutation to post here. You can find the original reddit post here.

This is the third of several samples /u/j4ni[1] sent me for my 34th birthday. These are 3cl samples, so I’m doing them fully blind in a single pour rather than using my more common semi-blind format. but that doesn’t matter because I know exactly what this is. Given the clue (see photo), this could be either Glenfiddich Snow Crocodile or Ardbeg Alligator. And since I am sure /u/j4ni[2] has never come into contact with the widow of Jocky O’Winkle, I’m confident it’s not the former.

What’s that you say? You have no idea who Jocky O’Winkle is? While I refuse to believe there exists a scotch enthusiast who’s not heard the story behind Glenfiddich’s Snow Crocodile bottling, I’ll humor you with the tale. But only because my compatriot in this review, j4ni himself also said “Never even heard of the snow crocodile…so yeah”

Jocky O’Winkle, a good friend of Pappy Van Winkle and a true Scotsman, was an explorer. On his last trip the the Antarctic, he took along a hogshead of Glenfiddich in hopes of getting further than his explorations had in the past. As everybody knows, glacier ice is poisonous; O’Winkle hoped that his men could drink the scotch instead and avoid the poison. Unfortunately, he was bitten by a crocodile before ever leaving South America, and he was unable to partake of the scotch.

To cut a long story short, Jocky O’Winkle lost 58 of 72 men that were a part of his expedition, and was forced to cannibalize 15 of them. But he made it to 15 miles near the South Pole, and returned home with a full hogshead of Glenfiddich. He died shortly after his return, and his widow kept the scotch, giving out very small samples to whisky enthusiasts that she came to respect. Which is how I know j4ni doesn’t have any of this – the samples were never as large as a full ounce.

Sorry there j4ni, what’s that you say? I should shut up and move on with the tasting? Ok. Fine, you win We are doing something new today, a post which contains two people’s notes. So without further ado, here’s my host j4ni

Hey there kdz’ readers! The second I learned that this is on kdz’ ISO list, I knew I had to include it in his birthday series care package. This is actually a sample I got quite some time ago. While our rosebank review had some similarities and some more differences, I’m excited to see how this works out! But it’s his series, so I keep quiet for now…

Situation: writing up different reviews on the iPad as I left my power cable for the notebook at work…listening to Patty Smith’s Wave and trying to to a couple of things the same time, which I suck at 🙂

Nose: Smoke of a charcoal barbecue, sweet and sour sauce, tropical fruits (pineapple.) on said barbecue, also some cherries and milk chocolate

Nose (kdz13): a very earthy and dry presentation compared to the Caol Ila I’ve been having lately. Smoked meats and a cigar humidor. A bit of fruit. Sawdust

Taste: sweet entry like stewed fruits then powerful pepper steak spice, peat and ashy smoke, cherries, a meaty ‘medium rare steak like’ note, some oak (12 years?)

Taste (kdz13): candy sweet, caramelized sugar primarily, with some apples and black pepper.

Finish: Nice finish: ashy, milk chocolate, espresso and long lasting pepper notes. Plus hints of a note I at first thought to be sweet-sour-sauce but now would say ginger is more appropriate.

Finish (kdz13): apples turn to citrus, with the sugar ever present. 10 seconds later, sugar turns smokier and oaky, with the aftertaste finally presenting the first peat I’ve found in this dram. The burn is there, but doesn’t demand attention.

Conclusion: Good but nothing to get sleepless nights over, I liked the nose most, the pepper was a bit to dominant on palate and finish for my taste, the steak note was cool though…

Score (j4ni): B/B+ or 87/100

/u/kdz13[5] This is a pleasant change of pace compared to what I expected. The caramelized sugar was a surprise indeed. We have a flan recipe that instructs the cook to caramelize the sugar ” – you can even burn it a little bit if you want to.” If the cook were to be a bit overzealous on the burning part – but just a bit – that is very much what I’m getting getting from the palate on this one.

Score (kdz13): 93/100

/u/kdz13[6] Would I buy it again? If it were still around at retail, I would. I had considered buying or trading on the secondary, but now that I’ve had the chance to taste it, I’m content…

Thank you /u/j4ni[7] for sharing so generously!

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Other Ardbeg reviews: here Our visit to the distillery: here

Other whiskies with the same score: here

2 thoughts on “Ardbeg Aligator – featuring kdz13

  1. That’s one Ardbeg I REALLY wanna try. I once was tempted to order it in a local bar, but ultimately decided against paying 35 Euro for a single dram. Later, I also saw it at a whisky fair, where they only charged 8 Euro for 2cl. Sadly, it was already sold out by the time I found out about that offer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh wow, 8€ seems more than reasonable! Like I said to me it was nothing to get sleepless nights over but I heard others rave about it as well…so, you probably shouldn’t let the opportunity slip by next time 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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