Ardbeg Alligator Tasting – A Brief Encounter with an Alligator

Ardbeg Distillery Limited, Isle of Islay, Argyll, Scotland PA42 7EA

More info:
Owners, Glenmorangie Co | website | telephone: 01496 302236 | Ardbeg is Gaelic for ‘Small Headland’.whisky-boy-jim-and-ardbeg-alligator

Just over a week ago whilst Nicola was at the The Vaults in Edinburgh, Nicola met Allan Little who is the Senior Brand Manager for Ardbeg and as he knew the Whisky Boys and Helen Stewart from the SMWS were heading off on Saturday 11th February to the Newcastle Whisky Lounge Festival, he suggested we might want to do a wee tasting of this grand dram.

So Nicola packed the Ardbeg Alligator for our trip to Newcastle.

This Festival was small and intimate, but unbelievably busy. We met many friends some old and some new, to name a few: Raymond Armstrong (Bladnoch Distillery), Martin Armstrong ( and Dr Andrew Forrester, Brand Manager from the Balvenie.

So on this return journey Nicola suggested we open the Alligator and do our first “on the move” tasting, great idea! so without much ado Nicola opened the Ardbeg Alligator, and poured our tasting drams into the East Coast trains plastic cups… 😉 we were all set.

How good was this…. a two and a half hour first class train journey and a bottle of Ardbeg Alligator.

Let this ‘Brief Encounter’ from a great distillery begin.

Ardbeg Islay single Malt Scotch Whisky – Alligator, Unaged, Non-chill Filtered 51.2% Alc/vol 70cl

Hiding deep in the depths of Ardbeg Distillery were some heavily charred American oak casks that were used to cardbeg-alligatorontain the spirit that became the unique beast that is the Alligator.

Colour…22 carat sunflower gold.

Nicola’s Tasting

Nose… A Winter walk on Islay, Winter spice, gingerbread man with chocolate buttons.
Taste… A freshly lit fireplace, tobacco, burnt paper cinders, rounded, sweet BBQ sauce and sweet chocolate.
Finish… Long, hot and menthol.

Score… 4 Corks

Jim’s Tasting

Nose… A Winter BBQ powdered black pepper, some vanilla and brown sugar melted ready to be made into toffee.
Taste… Full on dark chocolate, iced lemon ginger cake, sweet and also salty, pure intense peat smoke, dark chocolate covered toffee sweets.whisky-boy-nicola-ardbeg-alligator
Finish… Long and very warming, the fantastic peat just lingers on and on, a little cigar sweetness, what a dram Ardbeg’s greatest achievement yet.

Score… 4.5 Corks

Overall Score…4.5 Corks

This was the Whisky Boys best train journey yet, a first class seat and a first class dram, it does not get much better than this.

The Ardbeg Alligator is one of the finest drams every created it has everything, flavour, excitement, intense aroma’s, elegance and has an Islay birthplace.

Jim who is a Committee Member of Ardbeg can now clearly state that this is by far his favourite Islay Malt of the moment.

On another note, Jim was surprised but very happy that Nicola has now found her footing with smoky/peated malts and found the Alligator to be an exciting and delightful wee dram.

Well done all at Ardbeg and Jim looks forward to seeing you all at the end of May when Jim attends the Islay Whisky Festival.

You can buy this powerful dram at your specialist Whisky shop or certainly on-line, but be quick there are not too many left out there.


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4 Responses

  1. This sounds like dessert – or like it’d go great with dessert. I’ll have to hurry so I can grab a bottle!

  2. Nicola says:

    It has to be my most enjoyable Ardbeg to date, let us know what you think once you’ve tried.


  3. Jon Freeman says:

    here at Braeside we have over 120 single malts and regularly have whisky tastings for our guests. Having tried the Islaygator I dont think its nearly as good as either the Coryvreckan or the Uigeadail
    but I realy think it lacks when measured against the Laphroaig Triple Wood
    Still its a realy cute name and Im sure it will do well
    If your passing Oban pop in and have a dram with me

  4. Jim says:

    Hi Jon, will keep a note and next time in your neck of the woods we shall ceertainly pop in for a dram or three.


    Jim and Nicola

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