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Ardbeg Uigeadail

Okay You Win

0 593

@vanPeltReview by @vanPelt

14th Apr 2013


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

I would not have imagined that the smell of smoky, rubbery, sweet rose petals would make my mouth water, so this must be a special mix. It took me a long time to analyze this, because there is something very familiar about it I could not identify, while at the same time it's very full and you could identify a hundred components.

Nose: When warmer and new, very much flames and ash, coupled with tobacco and rubber; a raisiny sweetness makes these industrial scents more palatable. If a little cool, not too smoky and the first impression is as if you could smell a sour cherry ice cream: lightly sweet rose, creamy vanilla, faint but deeper notes of dark chocolate bits... and definitely all overlaid with charred walnuts, to impart a more serious aroma.

Palate: Much of the same from the nose (floral/cherry/vanilla/nut/ash), in a potent and syrupy blend. Additionally, some hotness and acidity, like biting into a crisp red pepper maybe further dipped in tabasco sauce-- and then evolving into a thick and deep mole sauce. It is certainly intense, but never losing its smooth sweetness, and somehow never being too much of any certain theme of flavor.

Finish: Long and rich, with the overtones of tar and ash passing into lingering raisin & clove sweetness, and finally a little tobacco/cigar while you enjoy nutmeg sprinkled on mocha cappuccino.

This is obviously exemplary, and I mostly applaud it for being able to provide such complexity across a large flavor spectrum while avoiding bitterness or other extremities. Although different in tone, I can best contrast it with the Bowmore 15-Darkest, another peated sherry malt. In comparison, the Uigeadail does manage to come out smoother: with less toffee sweetness but more vanilla creaminess and walnut musk; with more apparent flames but less woody cedar bitterness. And the Uigeadail leaves me feeling I can find more subtleties the next days after.... It must be all those vowels.

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PeatyZealot commented

Wow, did you review all these Ardbegs on one night? ;)

Gotta have this one... sooner rather than later!

8 years ago 0

paddockjudge commented

Very nice review, thank you. I'll be adding another to my cabinet tomorrow.

8 years ago 0

vanPelt commented

@PeatyZealot: Ha! Thank you for noticing that. No, I'm afraid my palate would have become too confused and overwhelmed by 4 Ardbegs in just one evening. I had some drafts ready but decided to wait (until I could get to the Corryvreckan) so that I could compare/contrast. I found that I couldn't understand the differences between them by reading other descriptions independently.

@paddockjudge: Thanks, enjoy "tomorrow"-- and have one for me!

8 years ago 0

paddockjudge commented

Well, it is "tomorrow" and I'm pouring one for you vanPelt.

8 years ago 0

vanPelt commented

This was batch L12 206, for reference. I have become convinced of the importance of batch variation, especially as the palate sensitivity increases with experience.

Also, here is a follow-up as I finish the bottle. The bottle has been open for 1 year, and for at least the last 6 months it has been less than 50% full. (More than 50% empty, for you pessimists.) My message is: how I wish I'd decanted it! I recently tried to showcase the Uigeadail to some friends, but it failed to dazzle the crowd; and yes, even I was disappointed. Gone were the balancing sweetnesses of tobacco/raisin/cherry/rose, as well as much of the softening vanilla. This probably will not come as a surprise to anyone experienced with keeping a bottle of peated whisky. The new tasting notes were much harsher-- the "dark side" of Uigeadail, which some of you extremists might like: Thick and heavy tar, coal mine, very industrial. Also more medicinal, more obvious salt, and a wallop of black liquorice (the salty kind) that wasn't there before. It reminds of of what I'd expected of peated whiskies before I got into them. Just a little vanilla & grape & sour cherry were still recognizable, especially in the nose.

The point is: take good care of your whiskies, and don't assume your purchase will last for years to come.

7 years ago 0

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