Whisky Advocate

The Super Bowl is going to be quite a (Ardbeg) Rollercoaster ride

February 7th, 2010

This showed up at our office  yesterday morning. I didn’t want to steal the thunder Ardbeg Corryvreckan winning our “Whisky of the Year” honors here this morning, so I held off posting anything about Rollercoaster until after the awards announcement.

I have a bottle, and the booklet that came along with it. If you follow the thread on my first Rollercoaster post, you can find all the details on this bottling. But if you have any other questions, I will try to answer them.

And yes, I hope to open up this baby sometime this evening during the Super Bowl game. If I do, I don’t think it will matter which team wins.

Update: I offer my preliminary thoughts on Rollercoaster in comment #12 below.

43 Responses to “The Super Bowl is going to be quite a (Ardbeg) Rollercoaster ride”

  1. butephoto says:

    Lucky devil! Whatever happens you will have a great Superbowl, that’s for sure.

  2. John Hansell says:

    It might be the first Super Bowl I will always remember: not for the score or the commercials, but for the whisky!

    Sadly, my closest drinking buddy, who loves whisky and is hosting the Super Bowl party, decided two weeks ago to give up drinking indefinitely to lose weight. I hate drinking alone. Anyone want to take his place for the evening? :)

  3. Tharkis says:

    Hah, that’s the reason I’m NOT opening my bottle of rollercoaster during the game tonight. My friends who I drink whisk with are all going to various parties and i have to work right up till the game, so not driving into boston for a party. I hate drinking alone, and special bottles deserve friends =) You within driving distance of rhode island? =D I’ll take his place and bring some special stuff too !

  4. John Hansell says:

    Fortunately, I just found out that there will be a couple of other single malt drinkers at the party, so there will be some sharing indeed.

  5. PeterD says:

    John, I’d be very interested to read a side-by-side-by-side-by-side comparison and tasting notes on the Rollercoaster, Uigeadail, Corry and Beist. I’ll hopefully have my ‘coaster in after it’s available to us mere mortals and I’d like to do a flight of all of the above (plus Renaissance and 10YO), but before I do, it would be a great benefit to have some guidelines from someone with a far more capable palate than I posess . At the moment, for me, it’s a toss-up between Uigeadail and Corryvreckan as to which I prefer in the new Ardbeg lineup. Of course, there’s always that last ounce or two of Provenance, but that’s staying put ’till something Really Special happens!

    • Gal says:

      yup. cant wait to get my hands on the coaster. 7 more days…

      u can look and find the tasting notes comparison betwen the beastie and corry in our blog .
      of course, i’d love to see john’s as well. i am not a pro after all

  6. Mark says:

    John, I’m glad that such a frequent object of whisky envy seems such a good guy as well — and a missionary kid, of course. Hope you enjoy the game! It’s a given you’ll enjoy the whisky.

  7. bgulien says:

    Ardbeg is becoming just like Apple. Everything they do is becoming a hype.
    Ipad or RC. Nobody can wait till they can put their paws on it.
    Come 15th my finger will hover over the keypad to be the first to order the RC and in March to order the Ipad.
    Yes, I am a sucker for these things. ;-)

    • tim d says:

      Great analogy to Apple’s marketing – and very true. Ardbeg does a great job on marketing and building excitment – AND delivering.

      I, too, am a sucker for this type of thing. BUT – it has to be good, the vast majority of the time, and not just dumb hype for hype’s sake. Apple and Ardbeg both can pull this stuff off because they always deliver.

      I’m just worried about the final price on this one, but I know I’ll have to at least try it at WF in Chicago!

  8. @yossiyitzak says:

    I guess the big question I have is: will it be available in the US? NEED a bottle!

  9. Mr Fox says:

    The difference between Apple and Ardbeg is that Ardbeg send out bottles in advance of release to get the ‘hype’ going, whereas Apple keep such a tight ship that noone knows anything about it till they properly announce it.

    I think Ardbeg could do as Apple do, but for some reason they feel they have to push-start the internet hype machine….

    • John Hansell says:

      I’m not so sure this was how it was intended, to be honest. A retailer (who I won’t name), let the cat out of the bag prematurely and started peomoting (and selling) it early. None of this was supposed to happen yet. I think that the Ardbeg folks then said, “Well now that everyone knows about it (thanks to the Internet, blogs, etc.), we might as well send out some review samples to the press and get the info out to the Ardbeg Committee.

  10. Mark says:

    At Binny’s this morning I contemplated another Beastie at $90, but couldn’t. Gladly, I saw the Best Buy of the Year winners had (at least Tamdu and Highland Park), so got those instead.

    [Also noticed, by the way, that Paddy’s arrived, sitting there on the shelf beside Powers 12. Paddy’s ($38ish), Powers 12 ($35). It’s interesting to me that my Irish friends here just laughed when I told them Paddy’s was coming. They view it as mainly for shots, not a quality Irish whiskey. Any responses to that from folks who know?]

    • BFishback says:

      Yeah I worked in an Irish pub for 8 years and people would go nuts over paddy. We usually had a bottle hidden behind the bar. I prefer regular jameson or bushmills to paddy, it’s comparable to maybe regular powers.

  11. bgulien says:

    Paddy’s a nice blended whiskey, very cheap (in Europe) , but not what may be called a top one.
    Have it as a nice mix whiskey. The Powers 12 I can’t comment on.

    • John Hansell says:

      Power’s 12 is first class all the way (or at least it was the last time I had it several years ago). Huge pot still character. And if I had to chose between Paddy and Power’s 12 for about the same price, the decision would be a very easy on. Power’s 12 hands down.

  12. John Hansell says:

    My preliminary opinion of Rollercoaster: Tastes too young to be in the same class as Corryvreckan.

    I’m just tasting the Rollercoaster right now, next to the two Corryvreckans (Committee release and standard release). My first (informal) impression: a very nice effort considering the whiskies are from 3-12 years old. There’s a lot going on in there. But, I can really taste the young whiskies in there. Unlike the Corryvreckans which are young but fully mature, this one isn’t. A bit too youthful for me to score it solidly in the 90s. It will be somewhere in the high 80s. Perhaps 8-10 points lower than Corry (give or take a point or two), which I rated 96.

    Having said this, if you like you Islay whiskies very young, then go for it.

  13. Adam says:

    Thanks for the preliminary Mr. Hansell. I’m still very excited to get my hands on this for my brother, he loves all things Ardbeg. Is there any fruit in there or is all peat?

  14. JC Skinner says:

    John’s on the money re Paddy.
    It’s a grainy blend perfectly suited for hot toddies when you have a cold, Irish coffees (for acquaintances – Powers or better for close friends, obviously!), cocktails or cooking.
    It has a special place in many people’s hearts because it was seen as a cheap and cheerful popular drink they grew up with. Often the first whiskey for many.
    Powers has much more potstill in the mix, and that becomes more evident again in the 12 year old. It’s a wonderful dram, a sipping whiskey that bites back at you with potstill flavour.
    In short, they’re both considered classics in Ireland, but for very different reasons.
    Hope that Ardbeg goes down well and that you all enjoy the game tonight.

  15. MrTH says:

    Prescience, John–the Superbowl was indeed a rollercoaster ride. Hats off to the N’Awlins Saints. Who dat?

  16. Hmm, I haven’t received any Committee info yet…

    Considering Ardbeg it probably will sell out in 15 minutes, although I guess there are quite a lot of bottles available for this one. Hope to get my hands on a couple.

  17. Luke says:

    Another Week, Another Ardbeg!

  18. brian bradley (brian47126) says:

    I, for one, love young whiskys. I am assuming this is exactly the type of scotch I am looking for. Young cask strength islays have a special place in my heart as they have a huge “fun factor” when it comes to drinking them.

  19. Louis says:

    Well, I see this as a good news/bad news situation. I would have loved to see another great Ardbeg, that I can actually purchase in the us, but my wallet is happier not having to be opened for another non-budgeted for bottle.

  20. […] Advocate The Super Bowl is going to be quite a (Ardbeg) Rollercoaster ride February 7, 2010 John HansellMalt Advocate Whisky Awards “Scotch Whisky: Single Malt of the […]

  21. Kyle says:

    Just got the word, Rollercoaster should be in stores in CA on February 22nd. It should be going through the same channels as the Supernova.

  22. A.J. Straus says:

    John:

    How does it compare against Blasda?

  23. John Hansell says:

    A.J. they’re opposite ends of the Ardbeg spectrum. Blasda is a lower ABV, much less peated Ardbeg.

  24. Monique at the Dell says:

    Just found out that we even have allocation for Rollercoaster in Omaha, NE. Exact same as Supernova’s distribution… never fear Ardbeg fans! Looking forward to meeting up with lots of MA/WDJK fans at the Committee meeting.

    • Justin says:

      That’s music to my ears. Any idea of cost, or more details of the Committee meeting in Chicago? I’m seriously considering going, even if it means I have to make the drive back to Omaha in the middle of the night.

  25. […] John Hansell posted some preliminary thoughts here which bore out what I would guess about something made with barrels 10 years and younger.  I’ll most likely not get a bottle of this one, California will get only few bottles and there are a lot of people richer and faster than I am… […]

  26. I_SPEY says:

    Quote John H. “My preliminary opinion of Rollercoaster: Tastes too young to be in the same class as Corryvreckan.

    I’m just tasting the Rollercoaster right now, next to the two Corryvreckans (Committee release and standard release). My first (informal) impression: a very nice effort considering the whiskies are from 3-12 years old. There’s a lot going on in there. But, I can really taste the young whiskies in there. Unlike the Corryvreckans which are young but fully mature, this one isn’t. A bit too youthful for me to score it solidly in the 90s. It will be somewhere in the high 80s. Perhaps 8-10 points lower than Corry (give or take a point or two), which I rated 96.

    Having said this, if you like you Islay whiskies very young, then go for it.”

    After having read John’s above mentioned comment on this new Ardbeg, I realy am not 100% sure buying this new, three years old scion, I think I’ll go for the matured ones! Please, don’t misunderstand me; it could easily be a fantastic whisky! And It probably is amongst the young ones.

  27. mindofmenjim says:

    Is it me or does it seem that a lot of distilleries are getting into the hype department for new whiskies? Take a look at the bottle of the month club that Bruichladdich seems to be running with a new release every few months. I have been disappointed by some of these overly hyped whiskies and at $90 or so a bottle, a <12 year old Rollercoaster seems a bit too rich for my blood. I really like the Supernova and loved the Corry – got a couple of bottles of that one, but I, for one, decided to take a pass on the Rollercoaster. At $40 a bottle, I'd consider it, but not for twice that price. Good thing for Ardbeg that there are a lot of people out there who are willing to snap up anything new that comes to market.

  28. […] tasted the whisky first on Super Bowl Sunday, and offered my preliminary thoughts here (@12). My opinion has not changed. My formal review […]

  29. Henry Lockwood says:

    I was definitely pleased by this one. I like to have something truly powerful in the cupboard for those cold winter evenings, and there’s nothing quite like a dram to warm you up after cycling home at 11pm in the rain!

    The first thing I noticed was the spice; my initial impression was of chilli. Once my eyes had returned from open wide, I was impressed by the subtlety underneath; I’m no expert reviewer, but I think this could be very rewarding. More in-your-face than the Corryvreckan, which I do like, but is a whisky for a different occasion.

    Verdict: high 80s, low 90s; not an essential buy but worth the money.

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