This bottle is one of the oldest in my collection, I use it largely as a reference to judge more recent purchases as I remember being bowled over by it on first sampling. I’d tried several malts before this bottle and loved many of them but this stuff just seemed to be on another level, it may have lost some volatiles over the years so might not be quite what it was.
Golden coloured, like a bourbon cask malt, although the label says it contains many older sherry casks. The aromas are a mixture of phenolic smoke and fruit with citrus, melon and pear.
A smooth classy delivery with phenolic peat and smoke to the fore but in that Ardbeg way it seems to compliment rather than mask a plethora of minor hints and notes that makes every tasting a new experience. Some honey sweetness, the merest hint of sherry, ambergris, tropical fruits, some dry spice, and floral hints all make an appearance. The finish is long bitter sweet and drying, the phenols and smoke take a back seat finally but the peat remains with the honey and fruit.
Uisgebetha - the old bottling of Ardbeg´s Uigeadail are indeed different animals than recent batches although all years have significant batch differences. Ardbeg started bottling Uigeadail in 2003 and for the first bottles (even in 2004) they used older Sherry cask´s than they use now. I am a huge fan of Uigeadail and when I did a vertical many moons ago the 2004, 2008, 2003 have been my favourite bottlings. Speaking of batch variations my bottle had much more deeper and darker sherried tones than the whisky you are referring to.
@Uisgebetha - if you still have the bottle would you share your bottle code with us?
I am sitting on L4 272 and L5 237. It has been nearly 10 years since I killed off my open bottles of these two. Sadly, I don't have any notes to remind me. I remember one being "fantastic" and the other had a slightly bitter finish (while still "good"). Beyond that . . . nothing.
@maltster do you have bottle numbers for the ones you tried in your vertical?
Some day I will open all my different batches for one heck of a vertical.
Thank you for the tasting notes.