Ardbeg Ten Year Old
Every whisky has its fans, but some whiskies garner fanatics. Ardbeg is one such. Perhaps it's because the distillery was nearly lost. Mothballed and neglected during the 1980s, it took a huge commitment and the expenditure of more than £3.5 million by new owners the Glenmorangie company to restore it.
Since its relaunch Ardbeg has produced an impressive series of limited release bottlings, but the core of the range is the 10 Year Old.
A big bold sea-breeze of a whisky, Ardbeg Ten fills your head with sweet smoke and wakes you up with a powerful, warming finish. Before you even lift the glass the peat-reek reaches you, along with dark chocolate and lighter fruity notes. The lighter notes are also there on the palate, and they give Ardbeg the refined balance that marks it out as one of the great whiskies of Scotland.
The finish is long and complex, with sweet, smoky notes complemented by toasted barley and nuts.
A great dram for the hipflask on a long walk in wild weather.
46% / 70cl, about £40, widely available