Brand: Ardbeg Uigeadail
Type: Single Malt Whisky
ABV: 54.2 %
Nose: Give the Uigeadail sufficient time in the glass. At first I get loads of Earthy Juicy Peat accompanied by Smoked Meat, Bacon, Fish-Oil, Tar, Leather, Rum-Soaked Fruit Cake, Pepper and Salt. But be patient because this Ardbeg has more to offer. After a while I find Raisins, Espresso, Chocolate/Cocoa, Toffee, Caramel, Brown Sugar, a little Sherry, Malt and Cigar Ashes. The ABV is a bit too high perhaps and the Alcohol is not completely integrated. But other than that the Uigeadail is nicely balanced and comfortable on the Nose.
Palate: Juicy Peat, Creamy Barley, BBQ Smoke, Tar, Leather, Oak, Sweet Dark Fruits, Honey, Bacon, light Medicinal tones, Pepper, Cinnamon, Lemon, Sherry and a hint of Chocolate. This is Ardbeg at its best!
Finish: Very Long, Sweet at first but Dry later on. Juicy Peat, Earth, Caramel, Sweet Barley, Brown Sugar, Espresso, light Licorice, Cigar Ashes, White Pepper, BBQ Smoke and Toast with a nice slice of Bacon.
With a bit of Water the Nose gets more Honey and Dark Fruits (Prunes). Honey and Sweet Peat are reinforced on the palate but the Finish becomes shorter and not quite that expressive. Better sip the Uigeadail neat!
Nose: 23 - Taste: 23.5 - Finish: 23 - Overall: 23
General Remarks: The Ardbeg (Little Height in Gaelic) Distillery is located on the South Coast of the Isle of Islay. The Distillery was founded in 1794 and commercial production started in 1815. It was closed between 1981 and 1989 after which it produced on a low scale until 1997 when it was bought by Glenmorangie Plc, part of the French LVMH Group. The Uigeadail takes it name from the loch that provides the Distillery with the peated Water. Uigeadail means Dark and Mysterious Place in Gaelic. It matures in a mix of Ex-Bourbon Casks and Ex-Sherry Butts and is married before bottling.The whisky is not Chill-Filtered and (in this case) bottled at Cask Strength in November 2012. It costs around 90 US Dollars, an excellent Price/Quality ratio.
Drinking Experience Neat: Very Good/Excellent
Conclusion: Ardbeg is certainly one of my favourite distilleries. Both the 10 Years and the Supernova 2010 are charted high in my Top 20 so far. But the Uigeadail seems to take the best of those two whiskies and add even more complexity and balance. Coastal, Floral and Fruity tones are in near perfect harmony. And despite its complexity it remains utterly drinkable as well! This could have scored even higher if the Uigeadail had been bottled at a slightly lower ABV. I think that anything between 46 and 50% would have been sufficient. Of course you can add a little Water but I'm not a great fan of that. Because in doing so you might make it easier to appreciate the Uigeadail but at the same time you alter the Spirit. I prefer to judge the whisky the way it is presented by the makers. But all in all this is a great Single Malt and it goes right to the # 1 spot in the Complete Ranking so far. What a great way to start 2014!