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I drank my glass with a few drops of water. Actually, I use a dropper to get the attenuation just right. In my case, I prefer to add just enough drops to keep a bit of the sting on my tongue but not so much that my taste buds are stunned into less than their usual performance.
Despite being opened palmed by a member of a biker gang on the street of Middle Village Queens for no good reason at all other than being in the wrong place in the wrong time, my sense of taste and smell are above average.
That attack broke my nose and gave me two black eyes. I have a deviated septum these days thanks to the guy who attacked me in order to prove that he was still tough and useful to the other biker members after he got out of prison (at least that's what I heard later from a few friends that knew of him).
I guess beating up a bookish English literature student was a sign of prowess to members of the "Georgian" biker gang.
That attack happened in the mid-90's. So long ago. Life can be hard on a guy when he is only trying to head out to the pub for a drink on a summer's eve. At the time, I was living in the East Village of New York City, and visiting my friend R.
R's house was enclosed behind very tall chain link fences and cyclone wire. That should have been a tip off, I think. And then there was the time R and his sister and I were walking beneath an overpass and, against their advice, I peek in a black plastic garbage bag and saw what looked like a human femur. After I peeked in the garbage back under that overpass, I found myself really hoping it was a deer leg that some hunter had left there, and not what it had looked like.
That happened on Thanksgiving day. Prior to seeing the horrible sight, I'd eaten an excellent meal at R's house, and then drank some Guinness in a local Irish pub. Two stools down at the bar, there was a hole in the middle of the stool where some famous Irish gangster had been gunned down ten years earlier. People actually sat on that stool, hole and all.
Here are my tasting notes on the Uigeadail:
Sight: Nice and dark for an Uigie. Bravo. Nice legs and beading in the glass, as well. Actually, I tend to call the part left behind the "tide line." In this case, the tide line is quite obvious and this is encouraging.
Nose: Custard, pencil lead, sherry, marzipan, hints of charred palo santo wood, stale vanilla cake with vanilla icing (next day left out), wet cut grass sap. In time, this scent changes to black forest chocolate cake.
I must say this whisky is mercurial. It changes pleasantly with time in the glass. According to one of my friends, it also takes air quite well in the bottle over time and should not be rushed. I will savor it, for sure.
Mouth: Attack moves from central tongue to upper mouth and back into the throat. Lovely. Perfect balance of peat and sweet. Bakers chocolate, beached and aging kelp, fresh stripped gorse, aniseed, wet sand, smoked monkfish, asphalt and tar, pool cue chalk. I am reminded just a bit of PC8. Extraordinary.
Finish: Long and rewarding. Moves to the tip of the tongue. That Ardbeg peat is fairly young but near perfect (for a younger batch than pre-2009). Smoke and peat intermingle throughout the mouth. Less sweet and nearly all peat at the death. Love the toasted barley in this bottling. It is especially rich and full.
I've tasted quite a few Ardbegs in my day: everything from Alligator to Beist to Ardbog to Corryvreckan to Galileo to Supernova, to Auriverdes (sp?) to a ton of 10 Years. This is one of the better Ardbegs I've tasted. This said, I do prefer a well aired Alligator or Beist but then again those are very hard to come by. We always tend to crave what we can't have.
I love old Ardbegs. They are my favorites and the Beist has some older Ardbeg in them. I can remember back in the mid-2000's when I first fell in love with Ardbeg 10. I couldn't believe it was so reasonably priced and so good! Little did I know that it had some old stuff mixed in. If I had known, I would have put away a case or two of the precious broth.
As for this L11 028, it is very very good. I must thank Nock for the recommendation. He and Victor really shed some valuable light on All Things Ardbeg.
If you have the time, I recommend going back into their reviews of the Ardbegs and browsing through them. There is a tremendous amount of knowledge and two extremely experienced and sensitive noses/palates at work. Nock's knowledge of Uigeadail is particularly astounding.
Today, I just bought a bottle of the ten year Ardbeg. I was quite happy to notice how the distillery is printing the actual dates on the bottles. What a bold step forward. I am so tired of trying to figure out the codes.
As a matter of fact, I was going to also pick up a Talisker 10, but I put it back on the shelf because I had no idea when it was bottled judging by the arcane code. I don't know if I've ever figured out how to decipher a Talisker code or not. It's been a while since last I tried. Word to the wise for all whisky bottlers: stop the games and just print the frickin date for cryin out loud.
At any rate, the 2015 Ardbeg 10 is the one I was curious. I read Serge's review and watched Ralfy's as well. Both seem promising. Serge seems to feel that 2015 is a very nice year for bottlings. But simply stating the year is really not enough to go on since there are quite a few runs in a year.
Still, it's the thought that counts. I noticed a few years back that the industrial nature of the broth was far more intense than in earlier years. I've been sipping the ten year in pubs recently over the past few months.
I think they have all been 2014 bottlings. Not bad at all. I liked it better than a few years earlier. But of course the mid-2000's ten year bottlings will always have a special place in my heart.
Nothing can compare to those fantastic bottlings. Most of us didn't know back then how good we had it. But then again, does one ever know such a thing? It's rare, except in 20/20 hindsight, by way of comparison with the not as great. In the case of this L11, I am very happy to say that 2011 was a very good year for Ardbeg, at least in run 28.