Fans to snap up Ardbeg Alligator

Ardbeg has announced the launch of its latest annual limited edition – Ardbeg Alligator – which is released to its fans on the Ardbeg Committee today ahead of its wider-market launch on 1 September.

alligator.jpgArdbeg Alligator is the latest result of years of experimentation at the Islay distillery by head of distilling and whisky creation Bill Lumsden and his team.
 
“Alligator Charring” is a term used in the bourbon and Scotch whisky industries to describe the method of charring the inside of the oak casks before they are filled with spirit. The burnt wood staves take on the appearance of an alligator’s scales, hence the name.  

Lumsden said: “Since we bought and restored the Ardbeg Distillery we have undertaken lots of experiments, laying down spirit in different types of casks. This began back in the late 1990s and Alligator is the happy outcome of one experiment that we are really pleased with.

“The heart of Alligator is spirit matured in “Level 4” casks – the most intense type of charring you can achieve.  

“The key for us then was to “marry” the intense smoky bacon and charcoal taste of the whisky from these heavily charred casks with the equally intense smoky peaty flavours of hallmark Ardbeg and get the right taste. We achieved this by balancing out the intensity of the charring by marrying this with some Ardbeg matured in first fill ex-bourbon casks. These add a creamy vanilla sweetness to the taste.

“The result is a spectacular spectrum of smoky, charcoal, barbecue flavours which beautifully enhance the complex peaty and distinctively herbal characteristics of the hallmark Ardbeg house-style.

Ardbeg Alligator has been bottled at 51.2% abv and is non chill-filtered. It has an RRP of £55.
 
Hamish Torrie, Ardbeg brand director, added: “Ardbeg Alligator is released ‘for discussion’ to the Committee in June with the market release being rolled out to Ardbeg customers in the UK, US, European and selected Asia markets in September.

“The Committee bottling is just a few thousand bottles to get the discussion going and we hope that as many members as possible will attend tastings ahead of the general release if they miss out on a bottle now”.

As part of the launch, members can enjoy a film “The Islay-gator’s Tale” available at Ardbeg.com or for download on the Ardbeg app.

Roughly 40,000 bottles will go on sale upon general release. As with all Ardbeg limited editions, once it’s gone, it’s gone.

Alan Lodge, 01.06.2011

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