My experience with this one comes from multiple Whisky Guild tasting events. I never shy away from it, rather I seek it out. In 2009 Jim Murray’s Whisky bible named Ardbeg Uigeadail “World Whisky of the Year”!
Ardbeg Uigeadail (pronounced ‘Oog-a-dal’) is actually the loch from which all the peat-laden Ardbeg waters flow. For this expression though, it is a union of the classic smoky Ardbeg characteristics and ex-Sherry casks. There is an amber and gold hue...definitely darker than the 10 Year, but still a bit pale for how deep this one goes. All of the flavors are harnessed as this one is bottled at or near cask strength, and non chill-filtered…54.20% ABV.
Nose: The pungent peat smoke sets the stage, but once it passes you by, there are layers. There are raisins, and an almost meaty scent, like cleaning a grill. Some water opens it up a bit (due to the high ABV) and it kind of smells like banana bread.
Palate: Rich, and full bodied on the tongue. Complex…there is a lot going on here. It is sweet and spicy and hounded by a changing smoke, like charcoal now. More sweet fruits and cocoa on the way down, like chocolate covered raisins.
Finish: Long, it takes minutes for the ashy smoke to fade. A bit of oak and sweet fruit (raisins) on the exhale.
This did not have quite the sherry punch I expected, but boy does it lend some sweetness! I am an admitted member of the Ardbeg Committee, and I always have an Ardbeg on my shelf. I can see what all the excitement is about as this one just leaves you gasping for air, and wanting more at the same time. Just a wonderful ride, and so balanced. If I had to pick an MVP here, it would likely be the nose. I literally stood there and just kept nosing it over and over and jotting down my notes as new things kept emerging. This is truly a gem…I don’t think that I could ever get bored of it.
|Tasting Notes from 2011 & 2012|