Ardbeg Uigeadail

Mysteriousness

Reviewed by
Connosr member:

JoePass

Date:

24th Jan 2016

Reviewer rating:

99

About this score:

The average score for this whisky is 91.

Best price to buy online:

Tasting Notes by JoePass

‘Uigeadail’s meaning, according to the booklet that comes with the bottle, is the mysterious loch which provides the peat-laden water for Ardbeg. Literally, the word Uigeadail means "dark and mysterious". However, I must say that I don't find myself anywhere mysterious when sipping from this divine nectar; I find myself deep inside an old leather jacket of my father’s – comfortable, warm and dark scents of leather and worn corduroy lining, soaked with old cigarettes smoke. I'm not who I am today, I am who I was then. And he is who he’s used to be, when he had to kneel down to wrap me in his coat against the wind. This drink is mysterious, but it is not dark. It is everything that is balanced and right. Without a doubt, the most important single malt, in terms of my own personal journey in the world of whiskey, I have ever tasted.

Sipped twice; before and after added 4 drops of mineral water.

Nose – Strong, and full bodied. A veil of peat smoke, medicine and turpentine. Burned rubber, worn out leather. I would say, INDUSTRIAL. Nevertheless, behind these intense “unpleasant” odors, hides a gentle scent of fresh cereals and butter cookies. After adding water, the oiliness cleared off as you could actually walk through the fog and reveal flowered and colorful sweetness of breakfast cereals, oat porridge and honey.

Palate – powerful, and complex. Medicinal, Smoke and fire, hints of dark chocolate, fennel, and caramel. Adding 4 drops of water brings out deep malty sweetness, butter flavored cookies, and some vanilla.

Finish – long. Oh, so long…

Whisky details

Distillery/Brand:

Ardbeg

Bottling:

Region:

Islay

ABV:

54.2%

Colour:

Young Sauternes

Comments

Nozinan

Nozinan wrote:

A Very evocative review. What batch number is the bottle?

I have only tasted this once, at the end of a flight, so I'm not ready to give it a number, but I found it unique, and it grew in complexity in the glass. Looking forward to revisiting it in February.

24 January 2016 21:21
broadwayblue

broadwayblue wrote:

Not sure I've ever seen a 100 before. Doesn't leave much room for improvement. I love the standard 10 yo but haven't cracked open my Uigeadail yet. There have been discussions on the variation between batches, with some much more praised than others. Sounds like you got a good one!

24 January 2016 22:00
Victor

Victor wrote:

@Nozinan, you've only sampled Uigeadail once? Geez, come down here and hang out with me and with @Nock. For many, including @JoePass, the sun rises and sets on Ardbeg Uigeadail.

@JoePass, thanks for your nice passionate review.

We do need the batch number. They are far from all the same. For many of us, at this point, your review is not very useful without knowing which bottling it is to which it refers.

24 January 2016 22:39
Nozinan

Nozinan wrote:

@Victor, I have never paid for a bottle of Scotch what Uigeadail costs in Ontario, $170. In fact I've only ever paid more for a bottle once, and was reimbursed by the person it was for.

I do have a L10 bottle I bought back in 2011 or 2012, but never opened it because I was backlogged. When I saw it for $80 in Calgary (batch L60972 08/01/2015 150001 60 10:18) it was a no brainer, and after trying it I asked my brother in law to pick up another. I have no way of knowing if the batch I tried is a good one or a bad one. But I have this to say, if it's a good one, I am very happy with it. If it's a bad one....I can't imagine what to expect with a good one!

25 January 2016 13:52
Nozinan

Nozinan wrote:

oops, $176 now

25 January 2016 16:34
Alexsweden

Alexsweden wrote:

A nice review, thank you @joePass. I've only ever owned one bottle of Uigeadail but it also was quite spectacular!

25 January 2016 17:26
JoePass

JoePass wrote:

The number printed on the bottle is L59988 29072014 14008055 14:40

As for the score, 100. For me it means I cannot expect more from it. Aren't there any "better" whiskies ? Will I never find a better one? I guess there are, and I guess I will...

26 January 2016 10:55
Nozinan

Nozinan wrote:

@Joepass I gave Bowmore 18 YO a 61. I too don't expect any more from it.

Of course you are free to use whatever scoring method you like, but just like in health care, diplomacy, law, etc... it is often useful that everyone communicate using the same "language".

For many of us, a score of 100 means that this whisky is THE BEST of all whiskies, and there are none that surpass it (in its class or style).


Now I really liked my first experience with this whisky, and I'm not yet ready to give it a score. I suspect though that it will not be 100. Maybe in the 90s though...

26 January 2016 15:32
Victor

Victor wrote:

Thanks @JoePass. The Ardbeg bottling code format changed some time during 2014. This reviewed bottle is in the most recent format. My guess would be that the second set of numbers represents the bottling date. Probably this is bottled 29th day of July (07th month) in 2014. Can anyone confirm or deny this hypothesis? @Nock?

The last numbers "14:40" probably continue to represent the GMT time of the day of the bottling.

@JoePass, I am right with you in thinking that if a whisk(e)y cannot be improved upon in any imaginable way that it deserves a score at or near 100 points. I haven't given any whisky a 100 point score yet, but I've rated at least 3 at 98 points, including my first bottle of L10 151 Uigeadail. One other sample of a 40 yo Springbank I rated at 99 points.

And on the subject of your liking Jim Beam Black Label, I am also in hearty concurrence. I've given a few tastings to groups including 25 whiskies and many greatest hits. The program included Uigeadail, A'bunadh, Pappy Van Winkle 15, William Larue Weller, George T. Stagg, and Thomas Handy Rye. The overall most universally liked whisky at these tastings was Glenmorangie Sonnalta PX. The second most generally well-liked whisk(e)y was Jim Beam Black Label. Beam Black does show some batch variety, but I've never had a bad one. Talking about the 8 yo here. I've never sampled the export version Jim Beam Black 6 yo, or the new NAS Jim Beam Black Label "EA" = "Extra Aged".

26 January 2016 15:42
JoePass

JoePass wrote:

Yes, @victor, my guess was the same as to the meaning of the new code format. Oh, well, and now to the real issue here... @Nozinan,I tend to agree about the common language. I don’t usually review drams in public forums (this was my second, the first is right below), I usually do it with my tasting companions, and between us a ‘100’ is not a taboo. The way I understand our language, a 100 means it is the best whiskey for its category. No room for improvement. Couldn’t be better. It does not mean I am holding the best bottle of whisky in the world right now. Nevertheless, having not tasted all the whiskies at the category, and not being even close to this position, I accept your argument @Nozinan - A 100 might be overrating; not overrating the Uigeadale, but myself as a reviewer. I will give it a 99, so that there will be room for one more dram – THE best dram for the category.

26 January 2016 18:11
Jules

Jules wrote:

A case of getting carried away by the moment..? I like passion in a review but I will have to play party-pooper here: '99' is an outrageous score, and I cannot take it seriously. Sorry :-)

28 January 2016 10:42
cherylnifer

cherylnifer wrote:

I am afraid I am more anal about the scores. Every so often, when a new-to-me whisky catches my eye, I have been know to capture all of the Connsr review scores, sort them, throw out the two or three highest, and two or three lowest rating scores, and calculate my own average score. I know it seems like a lot of work, but I feel it lends towards a more representative score. I also take a look at the mean and deviation of the edited group of rating scores. And of course, I read all of the reviews, noting common factors, likes/dislikes, batch codes, etc. For me, this exercise is both entertaining and informative. As is this forum, and the members that make it an enjoyable part of each day.

28 January 2016 12:54
Jules

Jules wrote:

@cherylnifer - Sheesh! Way to take the enigma out of Whisky ;-D

But yes, I do take your point. I tend to dismiss the most radical scores, in either directions...

28 January 2016 13:32
JoePass

JoePass wrote:

@Cherylnifer, I am so glad you wrote that post.
If you take the scores of all the reviews here (I didn't do that, I took a sample of a random 100) you will find out that the average score is ~85 with SD ~ 5, meaning 95% of ALL reviews are between 75 and 95. 100 % of the reviews had scores between 71 and 99 (including my 99, without it, it would have been 71-97). No 60s, no 50s, no 100s.

The meaning of this is either all drams are about the same. There are no GREAT ones neither are there any LOUSY ones. Or, other meaning could be that the reviewers are indeed quite conservative, like you said about yourself. In other words – reviewers tend to give the same grades other reviewers give. Once someone breaks the line – they cannot take it seriously, and YOU take him out of your calculation. In my opinion, this is NOT a good thing – in terms of common language (see above post by @Nozinan), since it lessens our "vocabulary". If we can only use grades between 71 and 97 (taken my 99 out), why are we using a 0-100 score?? You said you 'calculate your own average score', but can you tell the difference between a 88 whisky and a 89? I don’t think so; I think no one can. Let's say you are in front of two 60$ bottles now, drams that you have never tasted before, and you have to choose. Trying to consult your friends in the Connosr – one bottle has got an average score of 89, and the other 88; now, how helpful is that (given that the SD~5 !!! )??
I would seriously like to see MORE 99s and even 100s, as well as 46s, 29s and 63s. Otherwise grading has no meaning at all.

28 January 2016 13:56
OlJas

OlJas wrote:

@Cherylnifer, it sounds like you would enjoy the scotch forum on Reddit. They're all about the stats (automatically calculated by bots or some new newfanglry).

@JoePass, I agree: more "brave" scores!

28 January 2016 18:10
OlJas

OlJas wrote:

@Cherylnifer, just to clarify my tone, I meant that in a "you mind find that other board interesting too" way, not in a "get out of here, and move to communist China while you're at it!" way. :)

28 January 2016 22:21
Nozinan

Nozinan wrote:

Interesting comments. In fact I have given a score of 20 (to Lambertus) though I did so under protest as it should have been lower but you can't give negative marks for some categories.

I agree though that the 0-100 system is not really he best way to grade, the way we use it.

In my whisky club we rate from A+ to F, so a greater range of whiskies falls in each score and I think that it is more helpful than say the difference between a 88 and 89...

28 January 2016 23:03
Jules

Jules wrote:

To be honest I feel a 1 to 20 scoring ladder would be more useful. People will automatically feel more comfortable giving an average whisky 10-11 out of TWENTY - but with the '100' scale that quickly goes to about 75pts, which is what reviewers tend to give unspectacular, average whiskies.

It's just human nature and how we subconsciously attribute nrs on a scale.

29 January 2016 09:20
Jules

Jules wrote:

For instance...

1-5: reserved for the undrinkable 6-9: below average stuff 10-12: average and or boring 13-15: decent stuff 16-17: very good to excellent 18-19: cream of the crop 20: reserved for once in a lifetime whiskies

29 January 2016 09:26
Nozinan

Nozinan wrote:

I agree. and I would add that 20 doesn't have to be only 1 whisky, it could be for those few whiskies that are simply awesome.

I would probably put as a 20 Amrut peated CS batch 12, Caol Ila CS (58%), Bladonch 10 YO 55% Sherry cask from the Armstrong years, and maybe 1-2 others

18-19 would include some A'Bunadhs, the Arran SMWS I recently opened, Miltonduff I was lucky to taste (also SMWS), the Glendronach 17 YO single cask I tasted in December, and Booker's 2015-01, Amrut single cask (Bourbon).

Hmm, I seem to be true to my philosophy of mostly drinking good stuff..

29 January 2016 13:54
Jules

Jules wrote:

Yeah, a '20' would be strictly for the kind of whisky that makes you involuntarily smile... so sublime that it literally puts a smirk on your face. That is my benchmark :-)

I could only put the Lagavulin '95-‘Feis Ile’ and a Brora '77 I once tasted at that level.

Talisker 25yo (2006) and Glendronach 15yo revival would be 19/20 then.

29 January 2016 14:37
maltmate302

maltmate302 wrote:

I don't know who originally formulated the method of scoring that we use but I should imagine that it's been shaped by the whisky industry itself. They love seeing scores in the eighties and nineties attached to their whiskies.Scores of 13 or 14 in the 20 point system would be psychologically less impressive to the average drinker.

29 January 2016 15:20
newreverie

newreverie wrote:

@JoePass I believe the reason for the lack of low scores has more to do with the fact that most of us here wouldn't take the time to ponder a terrible whiskey and write up a review. I try to buy and drink good whiskey and to that end nothing in my cabinet should rate less than an 80. I have given out a score of 67 to an unflattering batch of bookers. The reason I wrote the review was because the batch was a very unusual '6yr 0mo' and out of character. The review was meant as a statement that Bookers isn't something to be rushed.

There are plenty of drinks out there that would fall well below 60, but why would any of us want to actively seek them out and spend any amount of money on them?

02 February 2016 16:37
Nozinan

Nozinan wrote:

@newreverie I agree with a lot of what you had said.

I would suggest though (and I don't think it's really a disagreement), that there IS a place for lower scores and review of some of the " sink disinfectant". When I had a "mule" in the EU I used to order a lot of miniatures to try, and I think it is helpful when you find something you don't like to let others know to be aware, similarly if you bought something expecting it to be good and it's a dud.

Lambertus comes to mind...

02 February 2016 17:03
JoePass

JoePass wrote:

@newreverie, I agree ; We all drink good whiskies, that stimulate our desire to write a good review for a good drink. Nevertheless, once every while you get to taste an over rated, too expensive whiskey that deserves to be rated accordingly. I recently bought a bottle of Glen Deveron 16 YO, for 45£. In contrast to what I have read about it, it is an awful drink to my opinion. Haven't rated it yet, maybe because it did not stimulate me, but once I'll get to it, it ain't going to be a 70... (Although I must say it makes an interesting Old-Fashioned if you run out of bourbon... |-: )

02 February 2016 18:54

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