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Having always enjoyed the occasional dram, about a year ago I began to broaden my horizons and investigate the varied delights of this mysterious golden liquid called Whisky. With roughly a year's worth of exploration now behind me, I tentatively embark upon my first review.
Even in my whisky infancy, the Ardbeg 10 was a staple choice, an old friend I would return to - which is appropriate, as it was first introduced to me by an old friend, and we have shared many a peaty dram by an open fire since. With this history, and a broader taste for Islay, I began my personal collection with the much acclaimed Uigeadail. The Ten will remain a favourite. How would the Oogie compare?
Upon first opening the classic algae-green bottle, the aroma of fiery peat quickly filled the room. (Having been open for a year now, the potency of the nose seems to have diminished slightly - is this a typical phenomenon?) The fiery theme continued as the first dram was poured, the liquid a deep amber colour, that of a glowing grate.
And now the bit I'm most nervous about... Tasting notes! I take solace in the fact that this is entirely subjective.
Nose: Big peat, but not excessive. Oily and dank, an open fire in a damp pine forest. And spicy, cloves and cinnamon. It also reminds me of one of those historical information museums that pump out "authentic" rustic smells... Except the Uigeadail begs me to linger!
Taste: To quote my wife, "It's like drinking a bonfire!" Smokey, fiery, with possibly some sweet rum and raisin? Man alive, then the spice roars in like an accelerant! Yet it remains astonishingly balanced throughout. I had no idea such extreme flavour could be delivered with such balance. This was a new experience for me. As the embers die down, it's chewy, so chewy, like munching on a bit of old boot.
Finish: Long and leathery. Begins slightly salty, then bitter orange. Eventually all that remains is the warmth telling of the recent furnace.
This is undoubtedly my favourite whisky to date. I love the power and balance. My ridiculously high score reflects this but allows for something even more astonishing to trump it in the future!