Alright, I’ll admit it, I’m a total sucker for any kind for nautical mystique, (hell, I have several books on the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald and other assorted Great Lakes shipwrecks). I’m also a total sucker for good Norse/Celtic mystique so from the first moment I read about Ardbeg’s Corryvreckan…I knew I had to have a bottle. I mean, c’mon…a whisky named after an enormous whirlpool? That is fantastic marketing in my book.
I’m glad to say that this one lives up to all the hype, even if it’s just hype in my own mind. The Corryvreckan is at once a familiar, muscular Islay malt as well as a deep swirling mystery, not unlike a…uh…yeah, again, great name.
The Nose: Sweet wood smoke, brine, pipe tobacco, black raspberry, dark chocolate, brooding & complex
The Palate: Tastes of wet stone at first, slowly opening up into a peppery, citrus, burnt raisin fireball, which erupts into a peat-smoky, peppery maelström layered with subtle notes of black olive, chocolate, and burnt coffee. There are faint, alternating ripples of sweet and smoke throughout here that really pull you in.
The Finish: Peppery, smokey a bit of citrus again. Shows incredible length and exhibits a bit more brine on its last, dying breath.
Thoughts: The Corryvreckan is akin to sitting very comfortably in a large castle that is on fire. It’s very complex, bold, expansive, and well-balanced. This is a serious malt, best for a dark and stormy night, either alone to contemplate mortality in a glass or with a small group speaking in hushed tones about leviathans, past and present. It’s perhaps a little pricey for a no-age statement Scotch, but it’s also probably worth it. It arrived on US shores in October of 2009 and while not impossible to find, it’s not necessarily easy to find either. Ardbeg sees this expression having about a 3 year run. Highly, highly recommended.