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If you read my last review, of Bunnahbhain 12, this dram followed that one. Sitting at an extensive bar, tasting new things... what an awesome night. So I was talking to the bartender and told him that I've never really explored a peated Islay malt before, so I asked him for his suggestion between the Ardbeg Uigeadail and the Coal Ila 12. He suggested the Ardbeg.
Well, alrighty then Mr. Barkeep, lets do the damn thing! I'll take it.
So he turns and climbs his rolling ladder to the very tip top, reaches for the bottle and brings it down. He pours me a rather healthy dram in a nosing glass, and leaves the bottle with me to continue my exploration.
Arbeg Uigeadail (pronounces "Oog-a-dal"):
Nose: Holy cow, this is great... Smoked meat, heavy, calm, a ton of personality and swagger here, like John Wayne. What's the ABV here... reaches for bottle 54.2%?! Never would have known.
Palate: Oh this is good... it's very warm, smokey, coats the tongue nicely with a bit of a syrupy viscosity. A mouthful of campfire and smoked meat, light raisins and dried plums. Simply awesome. Looking at my notebook from my notes a couple nights ago, I wrote "like taking a bite of smoked ribs with a bit of tangy BBQ sauce, all while sitting around a mesquite wood fire." I am a huge, huge fan.
Finish: More of that soothing warmth, smoke and meat. Some light hints at Raisins or other dried dark fruit. Maybe plum. It's all real subtle. Like a good BBQ sauce, those flavors aren't subtracting from the flavor of the main course, which is that awesome smoked meat.
This is one of those drams that takes you on a journey to a different time and place. I couldn't shake images of the Wild Wild West as I was drinking this - images of sitting around a fire at night, smoked ribs, mesquite wood. So great.
Balance: Amazing. Simply stunning. Not a single flavor out of place here... everything is remarkably tuned and refined, and I'm in love with this dram.