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Nose: Sweet summer fruits along with the dark fruitcake from Christmas: plumbs, figs, raspberries, blueberries, peppermint, candied apples, and fig preserves. The peat is there, but it is much more the foundation for the fruits. There is also some chocolate and honey mingling with the fruit. After going to my reference blend (Grant’s) I am picking up on some mustard and sour notes behind the beautiful sweet fruits (strangely, sometimes getting away from Ardbeg helps with “a balanced perspective”). This is extremely similar to the L11 028, but slightly more “orange” tone (whatever that might mean). With some time this is more earthy, mossy, and darker then the L11 028 – but with some patchouli oil. This 147 isn’t quite as sweet as the 028, and there is a bit more earthiness here. The sherry seems to be better integrated with the peat and smoke then the 028. I am a bit disappointed that the peat is playing such a background role to the sweet sherry here. It seems as though (from the color and the nose) that this has the strongest sherry interaction of the batches from 2011. This has a bass tone peat with a low level smoke. Very little in the upper register; everything is down low. Still, it is intense, strong, and powerful. If this were the taste of a color it would be the taste of orange-brown. This is not my personal ideal Uigeadail nose. However, it is still very enjoyable, intriguing, and complex in its own right. With water: Slightly more of the alcohol is released. It is more astringent then before. But also maybe a bit more peat is released? Either way, it is not as great with water.
Taste: Very sweet: sweeter on the tongue then the L11 028! There is sweet fruit forward followed by peat in the background. Sweet sherry, then peat . . . , and then more sherry. Also in the mix: stewed prunes, figs, dates, apples, oranges, lemons, and pears. There is nothing bitter, or off here. However it does possess a sour element (just not as sour as L13 058 and nowhere near the L11 284). Silky mouth feel; not too heavy. There is honey-coated fruit. Seems near the bottom of the group where intensity is concerned. This is soft and velvety with nothing off.
Finish: It doesn’t have that explosion like some of the other batches. This has a very long intake of breath . . . then a plunge . . . like a great rollercoaster. The bottom doesn’t fall out, but rather, it drops you and pulls hard to the left as you descend into darkness. Now comes the iodine ocean wave of peat fire. It doesn’t crash over you, but it carries you along a wonderful journey of peat fire, bogs, ocean current, and hickory smoke. Dark fruits mix with peat and wood chips. This is much more of a gentle peat swell to “biblical proportions.” The sherry is very present and intense for a very long time. The peat fire and the sweet sherry play around in a very interesting way. This is a very sweet finish. Not a bad finish in anyway, but not an in-the-face-Ardbeg like many of the others.
With water everything becomes a whisper.
Complexity, Balance: Very complex with a ton going on here. However, it is all happening on a very low frequency. Has a great deal of balance, but not quite as great as the L7 325, or L11 028. Seems to have the most (or second most?) sherry influence next to/along side the L7 325. It is also probably one of the more subdued of the Uigeadial batches. Most similar batch to the L7 325.
Aesthetic experience: Second darkest of the night after the L7 325.