Two Islay’s from Cheiftain’s today.
It’s funny that I would always expect Ardbeg to be more smoky in taste/smell than Bowmore, even if the Bowmore was younger, as it has about half the ppm content. But it turned out the other way round with these two. I would also expect most modern Ardbeg’s to beat most modern Bowmore’s but again, I was proven wrong.
Bowmore 2002 Chieftain’s 46%
Colour: Light gold
Nose: Lightly smoky, ashy, lightly tropical with pineapple, a little floral, lemon soap. I quite like the lemon soap here, although I could see others hating it.
Taste: Soft, lacking a little power first then the smoke comes in with pineapple backing, soot, a little floral. More peaty than I expected actually.
Finish: Med. A little rubber, some pineapple, soot and oak.
Bot 2016 @14yo. The rubber on the finish was holding this back, as well as lacking a bit in the delivery. At cask strength it might have been better.
Ardbeg 1996 Chieftain’s 46.5%
Nose: A sooty and slightly off form Ardbeg. Green apple and lemon, very little smoke here, ash, a bit closed too.
Taste: Soft, acidic, citrus with lemon, some green apple and a little smoke, ash. Again, barely any peat notes. Lacking structure and, come to think of it, everything that makes Ardbeg awesome.
Finish: Medium length. Way too acidic here, oak and ash.
Bottled 2016 @ 20yo. Not a great one. Too acidic. Too little complexity. Too little Ardbeg.
Average Scores: 83.3 & 78.4
Distillery Rankings: 4th & 16th/ 61 places
Up/Down: 3/15> 4/16 (Both down 1)
Thanks for reading!
Scotch Reviews #624-#625
Whisky Network Reviews #742-#743
Network Average: 74.9
Best Score: 94
Worst Score: 12
60-64 Just About OK
65-69 Ok to Good
75-79 Very Good
Full Disclosure Disclaimer: I currently work as a Brand Ambassador for Penderyn Distillery. The views expressed here are purely my own and do not reflect the views of Penderyn Distillery or The Welsh Whisky Company. I try to maintain as much objectivity as I can but feel free to take my reviews with as big a pinch of salt as you like. Furthermore, my rating scale is NOT based on a Parker type wine scoring scale or a school/college/university % or A-F grade score. You can find more on my scoring here. I apologise for any seemly low or 'bad' scores given with my system and I am sorry I can't say only nice things. Please keep in mind that I am ethically compromised and I am unable to produce 100% unbiased reviews.