Ardbeg Uigeadail | 54.2% ABV | $70
Well I’m wrapping up this little series on single malt scotch with the Ardbeg Uigeadail. Ardbeg, which is one of the 8 distilleries on the island of Islay, is one of the most popular distilleries in the world at the moment. Collectors, enthusiasts and just casual drinkers of smokey, peaty whisky all seem to love Ardbeg and with a reason. Ardbeg has been known to put out some outstanding products. With all this fan fare surrounding the distillery it’s crazy to think a few decades ago they had trouble selling this stuff. The Uigeadail expression is made up of ex-sherry cask matured whisky and carries no age statement. There is a lot of good things being said about this particular whisky so let’s see for ourselves how it stacks up.
Appearance: light amber with slow moving legs
Nose: Straight away with that campfire smoke along with tar and a packet of rubber bands. While it can be easy to focus on those smokey notes there’s a lot more going on here. I picking up on honey, lemon rind, orange rind, cherries, raisins and hints of bananas. As it opens up the vanilla and raw sugar cane come into play along with some roasted coffee beans, leather and oak. This is a very complex whisky with layers of aromas that take time to fully open up. Dewy grass and mossy rocks bring a very earthy aroma to the mix. There’s also a fructose syrup type of aroma, like when Coke goes flat. All in all an outstanding bouquet.
Palate: Surprisingly sweet up front with loads vanilla, chocolate, sugar cane syrup and a nice sea salt note to balance out the sweetness. Mid palate is when the smoke and spices take over along. Clove, cinnamon and chili powder really help give this a nice spice kick. There is some tart lemon floating around as well. Towards the back the smoke picks up leaving a taste similar to smoking a cigar. As it enters into a the finish a rush of sweet flavors come in like honey, maple syrup and cappuccino. The finish is long leaving behind notes of cocoa, tobacco smoke, lemons and bay leaf. The mouthfeel is very oily.
Overall: This is an absolutely stunning whisky. Balanced and complex, a winning combo. It isn’t the smokiest or peatiest whisky out there but there’s enough here to keep all the smoky whisky lovers happy. And it’s that layer beneath the smoke that impressed me most. The flavors and aromas just kept coming, sweet, fruity, salty and all in perfect balance. There’s been plenty of online commentary praising this particular whiskey and now you can add me to that list. Amazing!
Rating 95 / * * * *S