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Ardbeg 10 vs Bowmore 12: Head to Head!

Discover the differences between Ardbeg 10 vs Bowmore 12 In this in-depth comparison and decide which Single Malt is better for You!

Ardbeg 10

ardbeg-10
  • Nose: Rich in smoke, ash, coal, caramel and spice.
  • Palate: Smoke, tobacco, coffee and bacon.
  • Finish: Looong, caramel, smoke.

Nose is full of smoke, ash and coal but mellows out into a rich caramel scent as you let it develop in the glass.

On the palate, this malt provides a thick creamy body. Flavor brings a blast of smoke, along notes of tobacco, espresso coffee and a meaty bacon note.

Everything is nicely balanced against caramel notes making it remarkably good.

The finish is long and warming, with smoke, sweet caramel and a dash of black pepper.

Ardbeg 10 is a whisky made for seasoned peat and smoke lovers.

This whisky is complex and delicioussmooth and well-rounded, rich in caramel and smoke, along mineral and sweet notes. This is one of the best malts for smoke enthusiasts.

Few whiskies are as full and rich in peat and smoke than the Ardbeg 10. If you are new to this type of whisky you might find it overwhelming hence don’t expect to like it as much as I do on the first date.

Whiskies of this type are an acquired taste that demand practice to be fully enjoyed. Once you come to terms with it you will find a hard time enjoying traditional Scotch whiskies.

If you feel overwhelmed by the Ardbeg add a few drops of water releasing sweet and floral notes making it easier to drink.

I’ve included the Ardbeg among the best 10 year liquors which you should consult to consider further options.

Learn how it compares to other malts from this brand by reading my post: Discover the Best Ardbeg Whisky!

There are a few facts worth knowing about the Ardbeg:

  • Bottled at 92 proof (46% ABV).

  • Aged for 10 years in bourbon barrels.

  • Ardbeg was founded in 1815 and produced in the Scottish island of Islay (pronounced “ai-luh”).

  • Won Gold medal in the 2015 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

  • Jim Murray Whisky Bible: 2008 World Whisky of the Year.

  • Ardbeg does not add caramel-coloring to the whisky.

  • This whisky was not chill-filtered preserving its flavor better.

Bowmore 12

bowmore-12
  • Nose: Smoke, pineapple, orange.
  • Palate: Medium body, ripe fruit, honey, vanilla, iodine.
  • Finish: Short, smoke, mineral, charred oak.

Nose hits with a strong smoky note from the peats used to dry the malted barley at first, followed by a hint of pineapple and citrus.

On the palate, Bowmore 12 has a medium body providing a pleasant mouthfeel. On the first sip I get ripe fruit and honey, along vanilla, a touch of iodine typical of Islay Whisky and just a tad of smoke.

The finish is short, with a subtle hint of smoke, a mineral note and charred oak from the bourbon barrels in which it was aged.

This is a good pour for those who want a subtle hint of smoke as this whisky is quite restrained when compared to other Islay releases as Bowmore only uses half as much peat to dry the malted barley.

Bowmore 12 lacks proof as it would be immensely better at 90 proof (45% ABV) and the finish is a bit short but a pleasant sip nonetheless, as it does not have any off-putting note and doesn’t feel hot providing a good experience.

I’ve included the Bowmore among the best 12 year old whiskies you can buy today!

There are a few facts worth knowing about this Scotch:

  • Bottled at 80 proof (40% ABV).

  • Aged for a dozen years using ex-sherry and ex-bourbon barrels.

  • Gold medal at the 2018 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

  • Bowmore is one of the few distilleries that continues to hand-turn, malt, and peat its own barley.

  • Bowmore was founded in 1779 being the oldest distillery of Islay and the second oldest in Scotland.

  • Bowmore belongs to Beam Suntory.

Ardbeg 10 vs Bowmore 12: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

WhiskyPrice
Ardbeg 10$61
Bowmore 12$63

Ardbeg 10 vs Bowmore 12: Which is better?

Bowmore is a lightweight on the smoke, Ardbeg a heavyweight

WhiskeyArdbeg 10Bowmore 12
Nose
Body
Palate
Finish
Value
  • Bowmore is a basic entry-level smoky Scotch while the Ardbeg is a dram for well-traveled aficionados.

  • If you are new to this type of whisky I suggest you start with the Bowmore before trying the Ardbeg which has a much stronger smoky note that might overwhelm you.

  • Ardbeg is deep, thick and interesting making one of the best whiskies in its class but demands certain level of experience to truly enjoy the rich peaty note.

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