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This batch is from May 29 2013; bought and opened 11/12/13.
So this is the most recent batch of Uigeadail I have found in Virginia . . . my advice is skip it. On a recent cold winter night I put it up against two other Uigeadail batches: my favorite batch L11 028 and the recent L13 058. Again, I score each bottle in 5 categories comparing all three bottles as I go. I add those score together to get my final score. On this particular night L11 028 scored 97; L13 058 scored 90; and this new guy L13 149 scored 86. Since that night I have scored in on several other occasions. All the scores have been around that score (85, 86, 83, and 84). I will go with 85 for a final score.
Nose: Much more varnish and spirity notes then 058. There is obviously peat and wood notes, but not the depth or the sherry presence that 058 has – doesn’t even compare with the 028. It has a lot of that “new Ardbeg” sour lemon going on. Not as bad as it could be, but enough to keep it from “greatness.” It does have a little bit of that dark Ardbeg thing going on: dark bitter chocolate, dark earth (not moist; dry), and some dried seaweed. It is still Ardbeg - and so enjoyable for me – but not up to the standard I expect.
Taste: Strong saccharin sweetness – high sweet tone. Now some lower bitter wood tones, some sea salt, and a bit of leather. Very interesting how the “bitter wood” notes have taken that sweetness down a ton. Maybe some liquorish notes? This really doesn’t remind me so much of Ardbeg or Uigeadial as it does Lagavulin – but without the smoke.
Finish: Nice wave of peat . . . and now a wave of sea salt and fire. The waves keep rolling in. I will give it to freshly opened Ardbeg . . . it knows how to throw a finale. It is big fire and peat in a young muscle bound kind of way. It leaves the mouth the most decimated and dry of the three batches tonight. That is worth something in my book!
As the bottle has been open for two months it has lost that power . . . and the finish score has dropped. Still, it is my favorite part about this batch. It has that liquorish note I usually associate with Laphroaig or Lagavulin - not Ardbeg.
Complexity, Balance: Not all that complex on the nose. I am almost tempted to think that something is off here – it is so spirity! And it is very two dimensional compared to the other L13 and the L11. It is a poor example of Uigeadial. It is all raw young spirit that maybe didn’t have enough wood to balance it out. Or perhaps just a bad cut? Who knows (not me). What I can say is that this batch does not come together.
Aesthetic experience: I love the Uigeadail bottle. It use to have a slight edge over the Corry for me . . . I like the name and label of the Uigeadial better. I like the ABV of the Corry (and then nick name) better. Are either perfect? Probably not, but they are dang close.
Conclusion: Yet another disappointing batch of Uigeadail. That is two bad batches for 2013. My hope is to find another good batch soon . . . I am itching to stock up on a good batch of Uigeadail as I am down to my last unopened bottle of L11 028! But this batch is not it . . . avoid. All that said . . . I still love Ardbeg. And I would gladly drink this batch over the vast majority of single malts out there.