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Ardbeg Uigeadail

L11 028 08:37 6ML

1 897

@NockReview by @Nock

28th Sep 2013

0

  • Nose
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  • Taste
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  • Finish
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  • Balance
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  • Overall
    97

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

Nose: Sharp high notes of sherry and peat greet your nose while a deep rich powerful fruit notes gurgles in the background. Oranges, raisins and plumbs mix with cinnamon and other spices dancing over deep rich peat. This is very velvety and earthy. This is a deep sherried nose, but in a different fashion from the L11 147. It is like a dark purple velvet curtain is enveloping you. Wood smoke in the background and a dark deep black earth peatiness undergirds everything. Formaldehyde, tobacco, and leather gloves make an appearance. This is a baritone peat tone. The smoke lives a bit higher up, but not as high as the L13 058. Still, really intense with a ton happening up high: now mint and pine sap resin emerge. Smelling the L11 147 next and coming right back to this one brings out chocolate along with the oranges in this nose. The chocolate is really strong now: dark chocolate, oranges and fruit on a bed of peat. This one gets an edge for a level of evolving complexity, power, and sparkle that every other batch just kind of lacks. This nose always takes me to a very specific place: a room surrounded by purple velvet curtains. It is a cross between an old English-manor-house-library and, a scene from a David Lynch movie. It feels both eerie and comforting . . . I feel like I am in the North West but still ensconced in velvet. This is the smell of purple in a glass framed in black and forest green. I love it. When the nose of a scotch can evoke my imagination into a crystal clear image I know that it is a special whisky. This is such a dram.

Taste: Chocolate covered fruits dipped in liquid peat. Lovely dark plumbs, baked red apples, and prunes all on a piecrust of peat and earth. Very sweet, salty, tart, bitter, and then back to sweet. Definitely, this is one of the sweeter batches. Nothing overwhelms. It is amazing! Now some salt and heat . . . it is growing very big and wonderful. Smoke and peat are emerging to dominate.

Finish: Huge Ardbeg intake of breath . . . now comes the scalding wave of peat. It pulls everything out of your mouth into a gigantic hole . . the dead sea now in your face. Peat, wood, fruit, seaweed, smoke, and the ocean with engine oil floating on the surface. Lovely. Perhaps the most smoky batch of the lineup. Tons of peat and fruit: the fruit is dark and rich where the peat and smoke are powerful and strong. Love it. A very interesting hint of liquorish – anise? Oak, smoke, peat, cereal grains, and animal feed with a bit of rusted metal. Biggest finish of the night.

Complexity, Balance: Extremely complex. This is about as complex as Ardbeg can get for my money. And the balance is fantastic. What it tells you on the nose you get everywhere else. Everything comes out for a solo like in a jazz group.

Aesthetic experience: Third darkest color in the current lineup. The L7 325 was obviously the darkest with the L11 147 being a slight bit darker then this batch.

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8 comments

@Nock
Nock commented

Last night I decanted this from a 200mL bottle to a 50mL bottle with a little bit left over (about 20mL) so I put it in a small glass to sample against my open bottle from L13 149. Here is what I will say:

The L11 028 has been open for a very long time. It has had a ton of air. Then it was put into a 200mL bottle. It has been below half way full for almost a year. Again, that is a ton of air. And last night I got the dregs. That means all the “extra bits” floating around at the bottom of the bottle. It makes the final glass very hazy.

I nose it (without much contemplation) and take a sip . . . fantastic. It isn’t mind blowing, but it is everything I want in a whisky. Does it really score a 97? Maybe not. In fact, not really. If you were to try this expecting “97” you would probably be disappointed.

Then I tried the L13 149. Horribly spirity . . . nothing works or is balanced . . . I am tempted to pour it into a mixed drink (but I don’t). And then I go back to the L11 028 . . . it just ticks all the boxes for me. It is an “A” in my book. An “A+”? No, but a solid “A” for whatever that is in your book (perhaps only a 92 or 90). The L13 149 is not great. Perhaps a “C” or “C-” . . . it is far from my Uigeadail expectation.

So in conclusion . . . L11 028 is great. A fresh bottle is near perfection (for me and my taste!) As it ages it still stays really good. And you can drink it slowly in the original bottle for 2 years easy (but I recommend decanting it as you go). It won’t taste as powerful, peaty, or smoky as when you began . . . but it develops a balance that is delightful to behold.

Glad (and sad) that I have only one more bottle left.

5 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

I've had a bottle of Ardbeg Uigeadail L 11 028 open for more than 3 years now (with preservative gas for about 2 years), and it still tastes great.

5 years ago 0

@Nock
Nock commented

5 years later and I still haven't cracked my last bottle of this one. Why oh why didn't I buy more? It is still my favorite batch of Uigeadail to date. That said, I probably need to be honest about the score. I have taken over 20 tasting notes on this expression. That has been from multiple bottles over various stages. I recently used a small sample bottle (30mL) in a Uigeadail battle royal (6 different batches). The 30mL sample bottle has been sitting for 5 years and still managed to pull a 92 score (blind mind you!) against 5 other Uigeadail's.

Honestly, my average score for this is a 94.

6 months ago 1Who liked this?

@Nock
Nock commented

@paddockjudge sadly no (but I would like to). Do you have an unopened bottle?

I had the L11 012 which was not great and I scored around 88 And the L 11 279 which was more heavily sherried that usual and I really liked it.

My experience is that there are two kinds of Uigeadails: 1.) The lightly sherried - These start off strong but can get bitter after over oxidization (like a year or more with less than a half full bottle). This bottle of L11 028 is a perfect example.

2.) the heavily sherried - this is the L11 279 and the famous Jim Murray bottle of L7 325. For me these can start of disjointed, unfocused, and plain off much like Bowmore 15yo Darkest. But give it a few months (or longer) of air and they can become magical. This is exactly what happened with L13 322. I really didn't like it at first when I opened it in August of 2014. I took it up with me to @Victor in May of 2015 to show him a "bad sherry batch." He tried it and declared it eminently drinkable! I quickly poured myself a dram . . . sure enough the oxygen had transformed it from a mids 80's score to a low 90's score for me.

You can usually tell by the darkness of the liquid in the neck of the bottle. Here are two examples. On the left the Jim Murray L7 325 and on the right 03/03/2015 which still has some sherry influence . . . but not on the level of other like L7 325 or L11 279

6 months ago 4Who liked this?

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@paddockjudge
paddockjudge commented

@Nock, all things being equal, that is quite a difference in colour. Comparing Oogie L11 325 to Corry L12 108, the Oogie is darker; however, the contrast is not as pronounced as what is observed in your photo.

6 months ago 1Who liked this?

@Nock
Nock commented

CORRECTION:

The L11 012 and L11 279 are batches of Corryvreckan. (I was reading my spread sheet incorrectly for some reason)

I have had 3 batches from 2011 L11 028 - this one and my favorite and light sherry - 94 L11 147 - heavy sherry - 93.5 (it grew on me) L11 284 - light sherry - 88.5 (it got bitter)

And 4 batches from 2013. I was buying those back when they cost about $54 a bottle. The good old days.

I haven't tried a single batch from 2012. I think that year missed Virginia. Virginia seems to do that which makes me sad.

6 months ago 1Who liked this?

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