Ardbeg 10 vs Laphroaig 10

Ardbeg 10 vs Laphroaig 10 | Top of the Peats, which is best?

As a whisky lover, I’m always looking for ways to explore and expand my palate. Today’s exploration is one that many Scotch whisky fans have ventured into before me – the comparison of Ardbeg 10 vs Laphroaig 10.

These two Islay single malt whiskies are some of the most popular peated malts on the market today, but how do they compare? In this article, I’ll be diving deep into these two expressions to uncover their differences in order to help you decide which one is right for you.

These both being Islay whiskies means peat heavily features in the flavour profile of these whiskies.

Peaty whisky is polarising as it can be an acquired taste. Many veteran whisky drinkers either love or hate peated whisky. The smoky and medicinal notes from the peat can be too intense for some palates, while others find it incredibly enjoyable. Furthermore, the intensity of the flavour varies greatly depending on how long the barley is exposed to the smoke before the distillation process begins. This means that even peaty whiskies within the same category can differ drastically in their levels of intensity.

If you’re a seasoned peated whisky drinker or intrigued to give them a go for the first time this article will help you establish if Ardbeg 10 or Laphroaig 10 is best for you.

Ardbeg 10 vs Laphroaig 10: Quick look comparison

Ardbeg Ten Whisky Bottle

Ardbeg 10

Nose: An inviting ridge of creamy vanilla winds up the peaty mountain capped by citrus fruits and encompassed in clouds of salty sea spray.

Palate: A harmonious blend of sweet vanilla, tart lemon and lime, punctuated by the beloved smoky essence of Ardbeg — that’s what we can expect from this exceptional whisky.

Mouthfeel: Light mouthfeel

Finish: An endless, luxurious flavour of caramel and bonfire smoke from a beachside fire.

Age: 10 year

Cask/Barrels: ex-Bourbon oak

Strength: 92 proof / ABV46%

Price: £43 / $52

Laphroaig 10 bottle

Laphroaig 10

Nose: This whisky offers strong and smoky peaty notes with a hint of spices, liquorice, and salt. In recent years it has become more subtly sweetened on the nose while still retaining its classic iodine/sticking plasters tinge accompanied by wood smoke that we all love.

Palate: A symphony of scents in this whisky: a hint of vanilla ice cream, notes from the first aid box (TCP, plasters etc.) and seaweed. The oak is bold and assertive on your palate with an upsurge of spices: cardamom, black pepper, chilli–developing afterwards.

Mouthfeel: This beverage is quite peppery, boasting fiery notes and a furry fabric texture that dries the roof of your mouth.

Finish: Exuding a robust, hearty aroma with hints of tar and brine, the flavour intensifies as it develops an enticing complexity.

Age: 10 year

Cask/Barrels: ex-bourbon barrels

Strength: 80 proof / 40% ABV

Price: £38 / $46

Ardbeg 10 vs Laphroaig 10: Ardbeg 10 review

Ardbeg 10 is an extraordinary single-malt whisky featuring a unique and inviting aroma. Its bouquet of creamy vanilla leads the way to its peat capped with citrus fruits and circled by clouds of sea spray, transporting you to the Islay coast. Aromas of sweet smoke, leather and a hint of oak can be detected as well as a subtle sweetness from the ex-bourbon oak barrels over which it has been matured for 10 years.

The taste of Ardbeg 10 is complex, made up of a harmonious blend of sweet vanilla and sharp citrusy notes such as lemon and lime, with an unmistakable smoky peatiness that is strongest on the finish. The finish is long and luxurious with caramel nuances and smoky notes reminiscent of a beach bonfire.

Ardbeg 10 displays a unique and refreshing savouriness to the flavour, with a salty sea-air tang that characterises the Islay region. Its peaty notes are intense, yet balanced by sweet undertones of vanilla and citrus fruits. These sweeter aspects appear first on the nose and are followed by a smoky complexity that resonates on the palate.

The classic beach bonfire finish is deep and long-lasting, marrying together salty sea spray with smoky sweetness. The ex-Bourbon oak in which it was matured gives Ardbeg 10 its smooth texture and full-bodied taste.

Thanks to its 92 proof/ABV46%, Ardbeg 10 has a light mouthfeel that allows each flavour note to shine through without being overpowering or too intense on the palate. It’s no wonder Ardbeg 10 is one of the most popular Islay whiskies on the market today – its perfect balance between smokey notes, sweetness and subtle oakiness makes it incredibly enjoyable for whisky lovers both beginners and veterans alike.

Ardbeg 10 vs Laphroaig 10: Laphroaig 10 review

Laphroaig 10 is often referred to as the ‘Marmite’ of whiskies for it’s intense and divisive flavours. On the nose, this whisky offers strong peaty notes with a hint of spices, liquorice and salt. In recent years, the underlying sweetness has become more pronounced, however, there is still that unmistakable iodine/sticking plasters aroma accompanied by wood smoke.

The palate is a symphony of scents that range from sweet vanilla ice cream to notes from the first aid box including TCP and plasters. The oak is bold and assertive on your palate with an upsurge of spices such as cardamom, black pepper and chilli. This whisky has a fiery kick to it which adds some excitement to its unique flavour profile, while at the same time leaving a furry texture in your mouth that dries out the roof of your mouth.

The finish of this beverage exudes a robust aroma with hints of tar and brine, which intensifies as it develops an enticing complexity. With 80 proof/40% ABV, Laphroaig 10 sits on the lower end of the alcohol scale for whisky making it more accessible for those looking to venture into whisky tasting without being too overwhelming or intense.

In summary, Laphroaig 10 is known as ‘the Marmite’ of whiskies due to its intense peaty taste matched with subtle undertones of sweetness that can polarise opinions between whisky enthusiasts. With an exciting flavour profile ranging from spicy notes to sweet vanilla ice-cream aromas – as well as an ABV strength that allows each flavour note to shine through – Laphroaig 10 certainly won’t disappoint!

Ardbeg 10 vs Laphroaig 10: The Comparison

Both Ardbeg 10 and Laphroaig 10 offer a complex mix of smoky peaty flavours with sweet undertones of vanilla and citrus fruits. The ex-Bourbon oak in which both whiskies have been matured provide a full-bodied taste and smooth texture. Both whisky’s finishes are deep, long-lasting and marry together salty sea spray with smoky sweetness.

The main difference between the two lies in their intensity; whereas Ardbeg 10 is light on the palate, Laphroaig 10 has an assertive woodiness accompanied by a punchy spicy kick. Ardbeg 10 also has a higher ABV of 92 proof/46%, compared to Laphroaig’s 80 proof/40%.

This makes Ardbeg 10 more intense on the palate than its counterpart, allowing each flavour note to shine through without being overwhelming or too strong. On the other hand, its lower ABV makes Laphroaig 10 more accessible for those who are just starting out in whisky tasting. In summary, while Ardbeg 10 and Laphroaig 10 both offer complex smoky peaty flavours with subtle sweet undertones, they differ primarily in terms of intensity and ABV strength.

Ardbeg 10 is light on the palate yet intense in flavour thanks to its higher alcohol content, while Laphroaig 10 offers an assertive woodiness that mellows out to reveal subtle sweetness beneath the spicier notes – all thanks to its lower ABV strength.

Ardbeg 10 vs Laphroaig 10: Food Pairings

Food pairing with whisky is a great way to enhance the flavour of both the whisky and the food. The flavours in a whisky can be incredibly complex, so it’s important to find complementary ingredients to bring out different notes and layers within the spirit.

When paired with certain foods, Ardbeg 10 and Laphroaig 10 can each become even more dynamic on your taste buds. As tasting spirits is as much about appreciating their complexity as it is about enjoyment, food pairing helps to bring out some of these nuances that might normally go unnoticed.

Additionally, opting for specific snacks or dishes when consuming Ardbeg 10 or Laphroaig 10 permits you to enjoy different flavour profiles from the same whisky – pairings such as sweet treats for Ardbeg’s sweeter smokiness or warm hearty dishes for Laphroaig’s peaty punch increase variety without having to purchase other bottles!

Whisky-food pairings aren’t just limited to classic ‘light bites’ either – they can also be incorporated into main courses too; smokey barbecue salmon goes particularly well with a glass of Islay Scotch like Ardbeg.

Pairing Ardbeg 10 or Laphroaig 10 with food can be a fantastic way to enhance the flavour of both the whisky and food, as the taste of each is transformed by the presence of the other.

For example, pairing Ardbeg 10 with a rich chocolate dessert such as a chocolate mud cake brings out sweet, smoky notes in the whisky, while allowing its signature citrusy notes to shine through.

Chocolate Mud Cake

Similarly, Laphroaig 10 pairs perfectly with a strong blue cheese such as Roquefort, allowing its intense peaty notes to soften and creating a delicious harmony between both flavours.

roquefort cheese

Foods that are naturally salty are great to pair with either whiskies as they help to bring out their unique savoury aspect, providing balance to their sweeter notes.

Aged cheeses such as Parmesan or mature cheddar work particularly well with either whisky due to their creamy texture and intense flavour.

Mature cheddar cheese

Similarly, steak tartare is a great dish for matching Laphroaig 10 due to its savouriness and freshness.

In addition to savoury dishes, sweet desserts can be used to bring out different aspects of these whiskies too. For Ardbeg 10 this could mean contrasting against something light like apple tarte tatin – allowing its darker more complex flavours to stand out without being overpowered by sweetness.

Apple Tarte Tatin

With Laphroaig 10, opting for something more indulgent like crème brûlée would provide balance between its smokiness and subtle sweetness while still allowing those core flavours of iodine and TCP aromas to come through.

Creme Brulee

Overall, there are endless possibilities when it comes to pairing food with either Ardbeg 10 or Laphroaig 10; from classic cheese dishes like macaroni cheese or grilled halloumi – which bring out their smoothness – through to traditional steak dishes which favourably complement their robust smoky taste. The key is experimenting with different combinations until you find what works best for you!

Ardbeg 10 vs Laphroaig 10: Cocktails

When it comes to creative cocktail concoctions, incorporating peated whisky can be a great way to spice up a classic drink. Peat is a natural product made up of decomposed organic matter and adds a distinct smoky flavour to your cocktails. For those looking to experiment with their mixology skills, peated whiskies such as Ardbeg 10 and Laphroaig 10 are perfect candidates for adding an extra kick of flavour!

Old Fashioned Cocktail

When adding peated whisky to classic cocktails such as an Old Fashioned or Manhattan, the smokiness from the whisky helps to elevate these drinks in ways that other spirits simply can’t.

2 tsp sugar syrup or 1 tsp granulated sugar

1-2 dashes Angostura bitters

splash of water

60ml Scotch whisky

soda water (optional)

orange slice

maraschino cherry (optional)

Put the sugar, bitters and water in a small tumbler. Mix until the sugar dissolves if using granulated. Fill your glass with ice and stir in the whisky. Add a splash of soda water if you like and mix. Garnish with the orange and cherry.

75ml Smokey whisky – (we used Laphroaig)

15ml sweet vermouth (we used Martini Rosso)

15ml extra dry vermouth (we used Martini)

2 dashes of Angostura bitters

5ml cherry eau de vie (we used Somerset Cider Brandy Company Morello Cherry Eau de Vie)

STEP 1

Pour all of the ingredients into a mixing glass, add cubed ice and stir.

STEP 2

When the desired dilution has been achieved, strain into a martini coupe.

STEP 3

Garnish with orange zest, making sure to release the oils with and around the glass.

Manhattan Cocktail
Manhattan Cocktail

The smoky notes complemented by the other ingredients create an entirely new kind of flavour profile that’s sure to delight anyone who takes a sip. Additionally, due to its complexity, this type of whisky makes for an excellent ingredient in whiskey sours and Pina Coladas – classic tiki drinks with more depth than their original versions.

Whiskysour
Whisky sour
Pina Colada
Pina Colada

50ml Ardbeg 10

35ml lemon juice

12½ml 2:1 sugar syrup

2 dashes Angostura bitters

½ fresh egg white

ice

50p-sized piece of lemon zest

Shake all of the ingredients (except for the lemon zest) hard with ice and strain into an ice-filled rocks glass. Squeeze the lemon zest, shiny side down over the drink so the scented oils spray across the surface. Discard the zest, add the garnish and serve.

Pina colada –

  • 50ml Laphroaig 10 Scotch Whisky​
  • 140ml pineapple juice
  • 40ml coconut cream
  • 25ml lime juice
  • handful of ice
  • lime wedge, to garnish

Blend the Monkey Shoulder Scotch Whisky, pineapple juice, coconut cream and lime juice together with the ice until smooth.​ ​ 

Pour into a hurricane glass and garnish with a lime wedge.

Furthermore, when used in modern twists on traditional classics like the Smokey Negroni, Ardbeg 10 and Laphroaig 10 can really add something special – transforming ordinary cocktails into truly unique experiences. Just one ounce of either type of whisky brings out complex layers within the flavours of the classic gin-based beverage; sweet notes mingle with earthy aromas creating an unforgettable taste sensation!

Begroni Cocktail
Begroni

Finally, peated whiskies like Ardbeg 10 and Laphroaig 10 can also be used in hot drinks like Irish coffees and hot buttered rums for those looking for something extra special during colder months. Adding just a splash of either spirit not only enhances the heat of these beverages but also creates some wonderful wintery undertones that are truly delightful!

Hot Buttered Whisky
Hot Buttered Whisky
Irish Coffee
Irish Coffee

Ingredients 

  • 30ml Ardbeg 10
  • 25ml Bitter Aperitif
  • 25ml Sweet Vermouth
  • Lemon Peel, to garnish

Method   

Grab a mixing glass and stir all ingredients over ice. Pour into your serving glass filled with cubed ice and garnish with a twist of lemon peel.

Hot buttered rum (whisky)

100ml Laphroaig

200ml water

25g butter

1 blood orange, zested and juiced

4 cloves

1 star anise

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 bay leaf

1 tsp maple syrup

Heat all the ingredients in a pan until hot but not boiling, while stirring. Let it sit for a few mins, then strain into a flask.

irish coffee

2 tbsp double cream

150ml freshly brewed black coffee

50ml Ardbeg 10

½ – 1 tsp brown sugar

pinch freshly grated nutmeg

STEP 1

Lightly whip the cream just so it’s very slightly thickened, then set aside.

STEP 2

Pour the hot coffee into a mug or heatproof glass, then add the whiskey and sugar. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Gently float the cream on the top and sprinkle the nutmeg over the cream. Serve hot.

Overall, adding peated whiskies like Ardbeg 10 or Laphroaig 10 to classic cocktail recipes is one way to spruce them up and give them unique character that’ll impress even the most discerning connoisseurs! Experimenting with different combinations will help you find recipes that work best for your palate – so don’t be afraid to try something new!

Ardbeg 10 vs Laphroaig 10: Final Thoughts

When it comes to Ardbeg 10 vs Laphroaig 10, the decision of which whisky is better is ultimately up to personal preference. Both of these Islay single malts offer complex, smoky flavours and aromas, making them a great choice for any whisky enthusiast.

Ardbeg 10 has a medium-bodied character with intense peatiness and an explosion of flavour on the palate. It has an ABV of 46% and has a smokiness that can be detected in every sip.

In terms of aroma, Ardbeg 10 has notes of sweet vanilla and oak that are complemented by hints of leather, tobacco and bitter chocolate. Meanwhile, Laphroaig 10 has aromas reminiscent of seaweed and iodine along with smoky peat smoke and oak woodiness.

Both whiskies are excellent sipping spirits that make for perfect after dinner drinks or nightcaps but they also work well in classic cocktail recipes like Old Fashioneds, Manhattans, Whisky Sours, Pina Coladas and Hot Buttered Rums (Whiskys). The bolder flavours of Laphroaig 10 tend to pair better with richer cocktails while the lighter notes from Ardbeg 10 make it an ideal complement for sweeter mixers like pineapple juice or cream liqueurs. Ultimately, it all boils down to individual preference – so whether it’s Ardbeg or Laphroaig you decide to go with depends entirely on what kind of experience you’re looking for when enjoying your favourite malt whisky!

Authors pick

When it comes to whisky, I’m a big fan of Laphroaig 10 year old. With its intense peatiness and smoky aroma, it’s one of the most flavourful whiskies out there. The aroma is a complex combination of seaweed, iodine, peat smoke and oak woodiness – all of which come together for an incredibly aromatic experience.

On the palate, Laphroaig 10 has a robust flavour that goes beyond typical smoky notes. It has an oily texture with hints of sweet vanilla and caramel underneath the smoke, making it incredibly smooth and enjoyable.

Overall, Laphroaig 10 is a great Scotch whisky for those who are looking for something bolder and more complex in flavour than what you’d typically find in other single malts.

If you are interested in learning more about Ardbeg and Laphroaig we have another article review several expression from each brand here.

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