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Ardbeg Uigeadail

A Tale of Two Uigeadails

3 6598

@VictorReview by @Victor

30th Mar 2011

0

  • Nose
    24
  • Taste
    25
  • Finish
    24
  • Balance
    25
  • Overall
    98

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

Ardbeg Uigeadail is my favourite malt whisky. When I tasted the first bottle which I bought in September 2010 I went back to the store 5 days later and bought 3 more bottles from the same store off of the same shelf, because I was astonished at how good the Ardbeg Uigeadail was, and I wanted to have that wonderful drink available for drinking for a very long time. Three months later, as my first bottle was nearing the end, I purchased 1 additional bottle from a different liquor store. When my first bottle was empty I opened the single lone bottle which I had purchased the most recently. I sipped first in surprise, then in increasing horror as I did not experience what I had remembered of the flavour and the feeling of my first bottle. Upon further tastings over a couple of weeks the second bottle continued to give me exactly the same less than impressive flavour as it had with the first taste of it. First I asked myself whether this was the flavour that I had experienced from bottle # 1 and maybe my taste had changed in the interval that had elapsed. Finally I decided that I should sample bottle # 3, which had come from the same shelf as the sainted bottle #1. Low and behold bottle # 3 tastes exactly like all of my memories from bottle # 1 and gives me the type of transcendent experience that leads me to rate this whisky at 98 pts. To bottle # 2 I would give about an 86 pt rating, decent, but not at all head of the pack, or close to being an all-time favourite whisky.

Nose: for bottle # 1 & 3, the nose is very brightly perfumed, like carnations with rosewater, peat, pleasant sherry and some briny and medicinal elements. For # 2 the nose is duller, lower pitched, less floral, and sort of muffled in its expression.

Taste: for # 1 & 3 the sweet sherry and the strong peat, medicinal, and briny elements combine into an amazing bright integrated fabric. There is a sort of harmony being played out here between the very high soprano notes of the sherry, and the bass earthy notes brought out through the peat and the briny/iodiny elements. You can still taste some nice malted barley here, sort of closeted between the high winey and low earthy notes. For bottle # 2 the sherry notes fall completely flat. They are not soprano or even alto, but more bass-baritone range. The sherry here is not bright, is not very tasty, and does not offer the beautiful contrast to the bass note elements that is afforded in the other bottles. The overall effect of sipping # 2 is heavy, almost leaden.

Finish: for bottles # 1 & # 3 the finish retains all of the spectacular flavours equally strongly for a very long time. For bottle # 2 the sub-par sherry flavour actually deteriourates somewhat into the finish, and becomes both sour and less tasty. The finish here is also rather long, but it is not balanced, and not so very pleasant.

Balance: # 1 & # 3 have everything going for them in all departments. Bottle # 2 is not very balanced, not nearly as pleasant tasting or as appealing to the nose, and then gets somewhat less appealing on the finish. At the end of this experience I am extemely optimistic about the quality of my remaining 3 bottles of Ardbeg Uigeadail, but am completely in doubt about what I will encounter if I am to buy an additional new bottle of that whisky. This experience has led me to reassess some others' lukewarm reviews of Uigeadail, or those who felt that it needed water to open up. I go to water as a last ditch attempt to find a way to enjoy a whisky when I am not satisfied with what comes straight from the bottle. Maybe those others were drinking from the stock of bottle # 2. The summary observation I make from this is to remind myself that whiskies are living beings and not standardized widgets off of an assembly-line. There are definite batch to batch variations, and sometimes bottle to bottle variations. Sometimes those variations are of a very significant magnitude and can make the difference between an outstanding whisky and one which is merely mediocre. (My rating is of bottles # 1 and # 3)

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65 comments

@markjedi1
markjedi1 commented

Wow, thanks for sharing that amazing story. Very well described. And like you say, there are definite batch to batch variations, and sometimes bottle to bottle variations. Luckily, that's not always a bad thing.

8 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

Yes, Mark, the whisky world is a very big one with many many very different experiences awaiting us!

8 years ago 0

@drinix
drinix commented

A great story which gloriously highlights the beauty of whisky @Victor. We like whisky because of its multifaceted and unpredictable nature. I still haven't tried the Uigeadail damn it...

8 years ago 0

Peatpete commented

Victor, if you look closely you will see that there are actualy two different bottling strengths for Uigeadail. Jim Murray gives the bottling at 54.2% a 97.5, but only gives the 54.1% bottling an 89. Is your bottle #2 an example of the different strength bottling? Personaly, I rate Uigeadail as one of my top two or three malts, but I read those reviews before I started buying it, so I have always made sure that I buy the 54.2% example.

8 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@Peatpete, all of my bottles, including bottle # 2, have 54.2% printed on the labels.

8 years ago 0

@HP12
HP12 commented

@Victor; Another educational and descriptive review. Now I'm wondering which bottle I have unopened in my cabinet...the "hero" or the "zero".

8 years ago 0

@jdcook
jdcook commented

Significant variation with peated drams can happen bottle to bottle - as most of the flavour we know as peat tends to come out fairly close to the tail of a run (the dead heart of a run tends not to have much peat flavour in it).

So in any batch, there will be a few bottles that are just not up to snuff, as they will be either have come out of the distillation process a little late (meaning you will get feints or other less than pleasant flavours), or, more likely, it came through too early in the run, and didn't get enough of the peaty goodness (which would then interact with the wood of the barrels it was stored in adding meaty complexity).

Peat is a wonderful flavour (for those of us who enjoy it), but it can be tricky to get right, and even the big players will miss every now and again!

8 years ago 0

@Nock
Nock commented

First off thanks for the wonderful review.

You might check the bottle codes to see if they are the same or different. You can find them on the back of the bottle near the bottom in little white letters (that almost seem to be rubbing off). I have an open bottle that I recently purchased which says: L11 028 08:36 6ML

This code means that it was bottled in 2011 (L11) on the 28th day of the year (028) at 8:36 am GMT. (what exactly 6ML stands for is debated but most people assume it means the non-standard line).

My guess is that all the bottles you got from that first store will have the same bottle code. The one you got from the other store will probably have been bottled from a different vatting.

This would account for the similarity of #1 and #3 (they were bottled from the same vatting of casks). Bottle #2 probably came from a different vatting several months apart.

Would you mind inspecting your bottles and sharing your findings? I would be very curious to know.

Cheers

8 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@Nock, thank you for your comments. Bottles # 3,4,and 5, and presumably bottle # 1, though I no longer have the empty bottle, were from L10 151 0757 6ML, which would equate, according to the coding you have given, to bottling at 0757 hrs on May 31, 2010. Bottle # 2 was from L10 194 2100 6ML, which would signify bottling at 2100 hrs on July 13, 2010. So the two bottles were bottled 43 days apart. Thanks for the useful tip in identifying bottling information.

8 years ago 0

@RobertH
RobertH commented

I suppose that would be a lesson to learn. I have in fact turned around from home to go back and buy a case of single malt that I found to be terrific as it wasn't a standard line and produced in smaller batches.

Thanks Victor!

8 years ago 0

@Nock
Nock commented

Thanks Victor for posting your findings. I am very happy that you not only found a bottle of Uigeadail that you loved, BUT that you were able to obtain several others from the same batch. You are fortunate indeed.

I currently have in my unopened stash a bottle each of Uigeadail from September 28th 2004, August 25th 2005, and April 7th 2009. Unfortunately I don't have any notes to remember which I liked better. I do remember that one of the three was off.

I will say I am impressed with the January 28 2011 I have open. I should probably go out and try and snag another. When I bought the bottle three weeks ago it was the last in the store. However, I feel kind of bad going to a store and pulling out bottles to look at the code on the bottom. Still . . . we are talking about scotch. Ah, the things we do for love.

8 years ago 0

@Pudge72
Pudge72 commented

Wow, @Victor, your bottles just happened to hit two significant dates in my personal history...the May 31st bottling represents the anniversary of the day that I married my wife, who was born on July 13th!!! (Awesome review btw, and thank you to @Nock for some wonderful information on bottle identification)

8 years ago 0

@jeanluc
jeanluc commented

Spooky!

8 years ago 0

@Veritas
Veritas commented

I wonder if Ardbeg has some consistency issue with some of these non-vintage bottlings.

I had a very similar experience with Airigh Nam Beist: I had a dram from a friend's bottle and was sorely disappointed. But I then bought a bottle (because I'll be anything with that distinctive "A" stamped on it) and while I'm still not in love, found it much more pleasant. We then A/B'ed our bottles together and the profiles were quite different.

8 years ago 0

@Nock
Nock commented

The Airigh Nam Beist is a unique example. There were three releases (2006, 07, and 08) but all were from 1990 casks. That means that the earliest release was 16 year old, and that the final release was 18 years old. So there are absolutely going to be differences in each of the three batches.

But then I would also say that every single malt batch is going to be different from the last. To me that is the whole point.

Cheers

8 years ago 0

@Veritas
Veritas commented

@Nock Good to know...thanks! I'm fairly certain these were both from the '08 batch but I can't say for sure.

8 years ago 0

UserRemoved commented

@victor, Thank you for your eloquent review of this gem. It was due to this review that I am now hooked on Ardbeg.

Also, my Uigeadail bottle code is L11 028 08.45 6ML it was awesome.

8 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@Nock and @whiskyshiba,thanks for sharing the good word about the Jan 28, 2011 bottling of Ardbeg Uigeadail. I was happy to join you both today by buying two bottles stamped with that date. It will be awhile before I open one of them, but I feel very confident of the product that is contained in the two bottles...it makes me consider buying more. And @ Nock, I was not at all shy about pulling out the bottles and searching for the dates.

8 years ago 0

@Nock
Nock commented

@victor, I am extremely curious to hear your review and comparison of the L11 028 when you do crack it open. In particular how compares to your beloved L10 151. I have actually been hitting some of the local stores with higher prices on Uigeadail hoping to find one or two with L10 151. My thought was that the higher priced stock might not have turned over as fast. So far no such luck.

8 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@Nock, well, your curiosity and mine got the better of me, so I decided that I needed to sample the (bottle # 4) L11 028 Ardbeg Uigeadail, and compare it head to head with the reviewed bottle # 3 L10 151, and also to do a retaste of the reviewed bottle #2 L10 194.

The results: the L11 028 is an excellent bottling. Compared to L10 151 on nose, palate, and finish it is not quite as high pitched in sherry flavour, but is a little sweeter, which is particularly noticeable on the palatal delivery. Continuting to use the musical analogy I would describe the L11 028 sherry as high range soprano, and the L10 151 as coloratura soprano, at maybe an interval of a minor third higher on the musical scale, somewhere around "high C". For my personal taste the L10 151 soaring high sherry notes are captivating and extremely unusual in any whisky. I would stick with my 98 rating for these bottles and give the L11 028 a 95 rating on my scale (which, as I have explained elsewhere, uses about 40 points of the 100 point scale for most whiskies, rather than the '70-90' ratings used by others). This is personal taste, though, and I can well understand that others might prefer the L11 028 to the L10 151 for its immediate sweet mellow delivery. The L11 028 is a very beautiful and desirable whisky.

Interestingly, a retaste after bottle-opened-six-months of bottle # 2 L10 194 shows significant flavour migration, in a positive way. I was probably 4 pts too generous in rating this 86/100 in the original review. Now, however, the sherry flavours are alto in range rather than bass-baritone. The finish is nowhere the equal to the others, but is improving, and is less sour. I would currently rate this bottle at 88/100.

So, @Nock, if you can't find a bottle of L10 151 Ardbeg Uigeadail to buy, I expect to have a sample to share with you for at least a year or two. Cheers, my whisky friends!

8 years ago 0

@Nock
Nock commented

@victor, you lack of restrain is highly appreciated! Thanks for your wonderful review of all three different bottle dates. Love the music analogy. It works brilliantly.

If I can't find a bottle of that L10 151 we certainly might need to swap whisky samples.

8 years ago 0

@Pudge72
Pudge72 commented

@victor, congratulations (with @nock's last comment) on moving into 4th in the 'most commented' review listing. You now have the most commented review written by someone not named 'jdcook'. :)

Alas, January 28th, 2011 (sample #3) is not a significant date for me, as the first two bottle dates were! :)

After I clear a significant portion of my American whiskey wishlist, I shall purchase an Uigedail in the US as the LCBO carries it on a limited basis at double/almost triple the price (depending on which state you are in) in the US.

8 years ago 0

@jdcook
jdcook commented

@Pudge72 - let's see if we can push him even further!

8 years ago 0

@RobertH
RobertH commented

All this talk, I just couldn't hold out. I opened the L8 183 18:12 4ml this evening. What a treat. Just a touch of peat in the nose even with the sherry. The palate is chewy with Cinnamon on the tongue sweeping to sherry then comes the smoke. I love cask strength expressions with some anesthetization. I may have to find another bottle for safe keeping. :)

8 years ago 0

@Pudge72
Pudge72 commented

to @RobertH or anybody else...newbie question alert...What is meant by the oft-used phrase 'chewy'? Does it refer to a slightly numbing (anesthetization?) and/or gradually-filling sensation created by some drams as they are held in the mouth? I've always been curious... 2nd newbie question...what are some good examples of a strong sherry expression of whisky? I've never had sherry itself, so I would like to be able to identify it when it is present in a dram. Thank you for the clarifications!

8 years ago 0

UserRemoved commented

@Pudge72, My favorite "sherry expression of whisky" would be the Glenfarclas 1974. It's cask strength and is a sherry bomb. Its aged 31yrs and is always priced under $240 in the States. You will not be disappointed.

8 years ago 0

@AboutChoice
AboutChoice commented

@Victor, look at all the goodness you provoked! Well after all this, my bottle, which I purchased several months ago in Detroit, is L9 097 13:38 4ML (54.2%) ... I'm the 1st L9 bottle in the thread ! My only point of reference is a quarter bottle of Ardbeg 10, which is wonderful, peaty and seaweedy, and tame (like a Lowland bottle). In comparison, my Uigeadail is engaging, concentrated, sweet, very peaty & smoky, and with a base of A'bunadh-type sherry. The difference in character reminds me of the difference beween Mac 12 and Mac Cask Strength.

Finally after cutting the Uigeadail concentrate down to 46%, the flavor is still wonderfully intense, but the smoke and hotness are now more subdued ... a very nice drink. But we did not turn the Uigeadail into an Ardbeg 10 ... which itself now seems maltier and still delicious.

Anyone else have an L9 097 or thereabouts ... would like your opinion ?

8 years ago 0

@AboutChoice
AboutChoice commented

@Pudge72, to add to whiskyshiba's sherry suggestion, which appears very enticing, and a hard act to follow, I would also suggest Macallan 12 Sherry Cask, Glendronach 15 Revival and Macallan Cask Strength. These are all 100% sherry cask matured, and will definitely give you a sherry experience. The cost is $40, $70 and $60, respectively.

8 years ago 0

@Pudge72
Pudge72 commented

Thank you for the wonderful suggestions @whiskyshiba & @AboutChoice...I've just discovered another pub here in London, Ontario that has a very decent selection of whiskies. Since I had not had a Macallan before, I tried the 10 yo Fine Oak, with the intention of working my way 'up the line' with the 12 yo Sherry Cask being the next stop...perfect timing! All of the suggestions will draw me to the States to purchase as the Glenfarclas 1974 and Glendronach 15 are not available in Ontario, and the Mac 12 and CS come in at CAN$90 & $100, respectively...and that's with the Canadian $ being above par currently!! :( (AboutChoice, are your prices from A&L in Ann Arbor?)

8 years ago 0

@RobertH
RobertH commented

@Pudge72, Both good questions and while everyone has a different palette, chewy to me is precisely when I take a sip and the whisky allows me to literally chew it a while in the mouth without fade of flavor, perhaps keeping my mouth salivating as it happens.

I think a quintessential Sherry note in Whisky would be Macallan 18 yr expression. But don't think for a moment that you could mistake Sherry if you had a glass of Sherry. :)

I love to try eating the things people say particular whiskies have for flavors or notes. It gives me something to go looking for when I explore the whisky.

I hope that is helpful.

R

8 years ago 0

@AboutChoice
AboutChoice commented

@Pudge72, you might want to keep in mind that the Macallan "Fine Oak" series are not 100% sherry-matured, as are the Macallan sherry cask varieties, like the 12 and 18. IMO, the "Fine Oaks" are only just nice, and not what I would seek out for a sherry experience.

And one we all forgot to mention is the much revered Aberlour A'bunadh (ah-boon-arrah) $65 USD, which is 100% complex unforgettable sherry at cask strength. Glenfarclas 12 (and their other expressions) have a very yummy sherry influence as well.

Yes, my prices are about what A & L charges, which are the MI Minimum Legal State Prices (or perhaps some prices are from other states). Currently Glendronach is sadly not available in MI.

Happy tasting !

8 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@whiskyshiba, thank you for the link to the excellent articles about variations in Ardbeg bottlings. For a complex, subtle, and challenging to describe reality like the comparative tastes of various whiskies, the more detail you are willing to see, the more detail you WILL see.

8 years ago 0

UserRemoved commented

@Victor, For a Father's Day gift, I received a bottle of Uigeadail. And its bottle code is L10 194 22.21 6ML. Uh-Oh. Is this from the same bottling as your "#2" Uige? If so, its ok. A bottle of Uige is better than no Uige at all.

8 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@whiskyshiba, yes, it appears that your new bottle of Uigeadail is from the same batch as my bottle # 2. I would really enjoy hearing your experiences of it when you get around to tasting it. I have found some positive migration in its flavours after 5-6 months, as I reported earlier.

8 years ago 0

UserRemoved commented

@Victor, I just finished my 3rd dram of my L10 194 22:21 Uige, and agree with your assessment. I'm not as eloquent as you, but feel that it tastes "flat" compared to my L11 028 Uige. It has less sherry taste, more hay/dry grass taste like a Longrow 10.

Do you think that the L10 194 sat less in its sherry casks than the L11?

Personally I like them both equally.

8 years ago 0

UserRemoved commented

@Nock, Mission Liquors in L.A. at their Sherman Oaks branch still has a few bottles of the famed L10 194 in stock. And if your great state of Tennessee accepts liquor shipments then call them at (818)785-6529. Their inline price is listed at $99 but if you call them they'll give you the in-store price of $59.99.

8 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@whiskyshiba, if I had to guess about the processing of the L10 194, I would suppose that maybe it came late in the tail of the distillation run, and has some 'feint'-y flavours mixed in with the usual ones. But that is just a guess. There is certainly plenty of peat present, so I don't think that missing out on peat by being too early in the run is an issue.

8 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@beloitpiper, few in Connosr would rate any whisky at 98 points. Of the three batches of Uigeadail which I have on hand, it is only the L10 151 batch that I would rate that highly. A rating above 95 requires for me the provision to me of a transcendent experience when I sample the whisky, an experience that is so wonderful that it removes me from space and time. That particular batch gives me that experience.

8 years ago 0

@galg
galg commented

Very nice review my friend. Love the Uiggy myself dearly.

8 years ago 0

bUIGEman commented

Great review. Couldnt have said it any better.

8 years ago 0

@Pudge72
Pudge72 commented

The dram that I had last night in memory of @whiskyshiba had a very nice smoked salmon note jump out at me on the nose, about 15 minutes into sampling (I savoured the dram for an hour). @Victor, do you recall which bottle code this particular sample came from? This bottle may be the 'object of my affection' the next time I get down to the US.

7 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@Pudge72, that sample came from a bottle of my favourite batch L10 151, the "Bottle #1" and "Bottle #3" batch from the review. That particular bottle has long been open, maybe 8 months plus, and is 3/4s depleted, so it has likely lost a lot of the smoke in the nose, and probably a little bit of the flavour on the palate by now. It still tastes mighty good, though.

7 years ago 0

@Martberg
Martberg commented

FYI I bought a bottle of L10 151 2 months ago and I have to agree that it's the best scotch I have ever tasted. Peaty, Creamy, Warm... and the finish last forever. I'll go back to my hometown very soon to buy the last 4 bottles they have, I'm pretty sure it will be one of those L10 151 !! :)

7 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@Martberg, excellent to hear! I wish you good luck in obtaining the additional bottles.

7 years ago 0

@brett88
brett88 commented

wow one can learn so much about the finer details of whisky tasting just from reading the comments. The bottling code is something I have never know but will use this from now on. Wonderful review!

7 years ago 0

@11four
11four commented

Excellent review and a fascinating topic. Thanks @Victor and everyone!

Mine is a L11 230 13:56 6ML which I reviewed and rated 97... but I look forward to being able to compare this to different bottling codes one day.

7 years ago 0

@systemdown
systemdown commented

@11four Agreed, fantastic and insightful discussion here on Uigeadail batch variation following a typically great review by @Victor. This almost needs its own discussion thread. Before I go out to pick up a bottle of Uigeadail I'll jot down the "better" bottle codes and will definitely not be shy about checking each bottle on the shelf!

Also @Victor I note your comment here RE: scoring a whisky 95 or greater in that for you it must be a "transcendental" experience. I have the same criteria essentially - such scores are not given lightly. I have a grading scale which I refer to for every tasting, 90+ must be "moving" in some way and a 95+ would leave me with the experience of drinking "liquid gold" and only a step removed from perfection (the almost impossible 100 points which I hope to never award a whisky. Even 99 would be tough to award. Maybe on my death bed I'll let my highest scoring dram up to that moment be bumped up to 100 and all others adjusted accordingly for the sake of ultimate completion ;-)

7 years ago 0

@psmith523
psmith523 commented

I've never owned a bottle of this and it doesnt cost the earth at less than £50 a bottle but I had a dram of it in Norway last year (which nearly cost the price of a bottle over hear, except that I was on business expenses). Very good indeed with a bit more body than the ten year old and a longer finish I think.

6 years ago 0

bennibarrel commented

In my opinion: Its the best islay malt ever. Its such a joy to nose it, there is so much to find. the taste is the ultimate storm of complexity. awesome. slainte!

6 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@bennibarrel, Ardbeg Uigeadail, and especially my favourite batch of it, L10 151, is still my favourite standard-release malt whisky. Thanks for commenting. Slainte!

6 years ago 0

@conorrob
conorrob commented

Your favourite? I found it was an amazing dram but was not quite there. Maybe it was just my batch L13. Would have been worthy of over 90 score for me were it not for the nose putting me off.

6 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@conorrob, My favourite standard release Scottish malt whisky is the L10 151 batch of Uigeadail. The batches differ, sometimes a lot. What you are drinking may taste very different from that one. If you are not tasting the same batch, you really aren't talking about the same whisky, with Uigeadail. That bottle #2 from the review had a starting appeal of about 82 for me. It got a lot better with a lot of air, over a year, and worked its way up to 89 or 90. But if I had started with that bottle #2 I am not sure how many years, or decades, it might have been before I would have been willing to buy another bottle of it. This review was all about two things for me, how I liked the L10 151 Uigeadail, and how very different the next bottle I bought, bottled 43 days later, L10 194, tasted. What you are drinking is a whisky I have not yet tried, and hence do not yet have any opinion about.

6 years ago 0

carlo commented

I decided to try Ardbeg Uigeadail after reading all of the rave reviews about it online. My bottle's batch number is L13 058 and it tastes and smells predominantly of bandaids and iodine - quite unpleasant. I chalked it up to the difference in batches, as well, but won't be trying any more. First impressions, you know.

5 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@carlo, I do very much understand how strongly a bad first experience with a whisky can make it very different to consider investing in a second bottle. I've had some bad first experiences with whiskies which many others loved, and some bad first bottles after having had great first drinks out. There are huge differences in the same-named whiskies over the years, and a whisky buyer has to be careful. If you find something you really like, I suggest putting a couple of extra bottles away. You really do not know whether 2 years from now it will be as good, or even be available. So far I have NEVER ONCE regretted stocking up on the whiskies I have liked the best...I have seen a whole litany of them become unavailable, go down in quality, or triple in price...

5 years ago 0

WillyPete commented

As others have said, great review and discussion, Victor. This thread alone convinced me to join the site just so I could post a comment. I recently found a bottle of the L10 194 that you disliked (or rather did not like as much as the 151) and I was very impressed. I am by no means an experienced scotch drinker, but after tasting the 194 I found my theretofore favorite Lag 16 to be noticeably inferior, the pieces suddenly tasted disjointed compared to the Uig. I say this not to disagree with you but to emphasize that the Uig is a damn fine dram and people should not shy away from it just because they cannot find one of the highly praised bottlings. Thanks again!

5 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@WillyPete, thank you for your kind comments. Influencing others to join Connosr is one of my greatest joys! This review started a much-needed conversation about batch variations in whiskies. Now we on Connosr are getting in our more recent reviews the very useful detail of frequent identification of the individual batch of whisky being reviewed. People like the simplicity of seeing things, including whiskies, in black and white terms. With whisky, 3 batches of the same product can well turn out to be black, white, and gray. Facing the reality of the variations and complexities tends to have the effect of slowing down our runaway enthusiasm quite a bit...but those variations are quite real, and sometimes their magnitude is quite great.

@WillyPete, I am delighted to hear that you are greatly enjoying your bottle of L10 194 Ardbeg Uigeadail. I also would sooner drink from a bottle of L10 194 Uigeadail than from my current bottle of Lagavulin 16. Now 3 years ago, I had some really GREAT Lagavulin 16...from a DIFFERENT BATCH....

5 years ago 0

WillyPete commented

Victor, I could not agree more about the importance of noting the bottling code when reviewing whisky. Hopefully this will catch on throughout the online whisky community. It often frustrates me to see someone review a whisky by noting how differently it tastes than what a previous reviewer stated. Subjectivity aside, I think controlling for bottling variations could decrease this phenomenon and thus significantly increase the usefulness of whisky reviews.

So in that vein, allow me to clarify that my current bottle of Lag 16 is from bottling L3266 (bottled the 266th day of 2013), meaning it is from the post '97 production ramp up that some have hoped might yield a higher quality Lag than the recent "scraping the bottom of the barrel" Lags that were distilled prior to the ramp up. This is not a Lag thread but I'll briefly say that I do believe this bottle is much better than a bottle I bought in 2012 but discarded before having been enlightened by the importance of bottling codes.

5 years ago 0

@vanPelt
vanPelt commented

This review has (also to me) served good purpose in highlighting the existence of batch variation-- and in documenting the specifically indicated good/worse Uigeadail batches. It was one of the first reviews that I had read (a few times) on Connosr, but I was skeptical about your impressions of the degree of variation in quality. So thanks for being vocal on this issue.

Also: I've never done this before, but on a recent afternoon, I decided to scour liquor stores for an older batch of the Uigeadail. I'd only visited 1 of them previously, and it wasn't until the 10th and final shop that I finally found a batch younger than 2012. So I bought it, came home, and Google'd the lot#. "L10-151, gee I hope that turns out to be a good one." Anyway, you can imagine my excitement when I found myself back at this review! So thanks again Victor!

5 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@vanPelt, well, @Nock brought out the Ardbeg bottling code information in this comment trail, and he has been the one who has carried the torch in reviewing a number of different batches of Ardbeg Uigeadail more recently. Bravo @Nock!

I do hope that you like your bottle of L10 151 Uigeadail.

As for batch variations, the most polite way I can express the observation is that if any whisky drinker tries enough whisky, that she or he will inevitably discover many significant examples of batch variation, some of them rather extreme.

5 years ago 0

@vanPelt
vanPelt commented

Yes on these points! My recent "quest" was in fact inspired by @Nock (yes, thanks Nock!) and a couple of his reviews, but I still thought this was the most appropriate place to post. And I partly agree with both polite and impolite versions of the sentiment. I was maybe about 20 bottles deep at the time. But even now, I have tasted very few products twice, because it's still more fun to explore new ones.

I too hope I like the L10 151 (I paid twice an American price for it and may save it a year). In one of @Nock's reviews he called its profile "yellow" whereas another bottle was "purple". I would say my last bottle (L12 206) was "purple" and that I lean that way, so this will be a fun experiment.

5 years ago 0

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