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Ardbeg 10 vs Kilchoman: Head to Head!

Discover the differences between Ardbeg 10 vs Kilchoman Machir Bay in this in-depth comparison and decide which Single Malt is better for You!

Ardbeg 10

NoseSmoke, ash, coal, caramel
PalateSmoke, tobacco, caramel, bacon
FinishLong, caramel, smoke
Alcohol content93 proof (46.3% ABV)
How to drinkAdd water
Similar toLagavulin 8, Talisker 10

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.

There are a few facts worth knowing about the Ardbeg:

  • Aged for 10 years in bourbon barrels.

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

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

Kilchoman Machir Bay

NoseSmoke, ripe fruit, orange
PalateVanilla, lemon, apple, pepper
FinishLong, fruity, tobacco, oak spice
Alcohol content92 proof (46% ABV)
How to drinkAdd water
Similar toLedaig 10, Laphroaig 10

The nose kicks off with a blast of smoke, but as you let it breathe ripe fruit and orange hints pop-up.

On the palate, Kilchoman has a medium body providing a decent mouthfeel. First sip feels smooth and mostly sweet, with vanilla hitting first, followed by lemon, apple and a bit of oak spice.

The finish is long, with a fruit note to it, light smoke, tobacco and more oak spice, but nothing severe.

Kilchoman (pronounced Kil-ho-man) is deceiving as it is strong in smoke in the nose making you think that this going to be a smoky-monster but smoke is quite restrained on the palate.

There is pleasing warmth in the taste and just a light smoky note in the aftertaste. This whisky achieves good balance between peat and sweetness making a good dram.

Machir Bay is a sweet, lightly peated and easy drinking Single Malt more approachable and lighter than other Islay whiskies such as Laphroaig, Ardbeg or Lagavulin.

Overall, the Kilchoman Machir Bay is a light whisky, with a subtle peat note and a decent spice kick making it an enjoyable dram.

Machir Bay is an easy sipper so drink it neat or with a bit of water if you want to make it sweeter.

There are a few facts worth knowing about the Kilchoman Machir Bay:

  • Machir Bay is a blend of a whisky aged for 5 years in ex-bourbon barrels and one aged for 6 years in ex-Oloroso Sherry Barrels.

  • The Kilchoman Distillery is a novelty in the world of whisky as it was founded in 2005 by Anthony Wills and remains an independent and family run business.

Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

Ardbeg 10$60

Ardbeg 10 vs Kilchoman Machir Bay: Which is better?

Kilchoman is a safer bet

WhiskeyArdbeg 10Kilchoman
  • If you are new to this type of whisky the Kilchoman is far more approachable as it’s notoriously lighter on the smoke making an easier sipper.

  • Ardbeg takes the smoke a few steps further making a more demanding whisky requiring a well-traveled whisky aficionado to enjoy its flavor profile.

Personally, I’m quite fond of the Ardbeg but this is an acquired taste and not something to love on the first sip.

What do Ardbeg and Kilchoman have in common?

These malts have two things in common worth mentioning:

  • These are non-chill filtered Scotch Whiskies. Chill filtering prevents the liquor from becoming hazy when in the bottle, when served, when chilled, or when water or ice is added, as well as precluding sedimentation from occurring in the bottles.

  • Many distillers and die-hard aficionados don’t like chill-filtering because according to them some molecules which contribute to the flavor and mouthfeel are also filtered out in the process.

  • Neither Ardbeg nor Kilchoman contain caramel-coloring to look more appealing.

  • The United Kingdom’s Scotch Whisky Regulations allows this practice but some purists frown-upon the idea of adding artificial coloring to their drinks.

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