While I am a great fan of Islay whisky at the moment I saw reading back my tasting notes that I haven’t reviewed an Ardbeg yet, while there are several expressions in my collection. For the first Ardbeg to review I have chosen the Uigeadail, which is named after the Loch which provides the distillery with fresh water. It is supposed to be a blend of several single malts matured on older sherry casks and younger bourbon casks. Let us see what this combination brings us. Tasting glass is my trustworthy Libbey tasting glass. Colour is full golden.
Powerful nose, balanced firm smokiness combined with the sherry sweetness at the first smell. Followed by more salty and leather, while the nose keeps developing. The smokiness gets just a bit less prominent, giving space for dried fruits and bitter orange marmalade. Also some mineral oils appearing. The nose keeps evolving over time, still displaying different kinds of dried fruits accompanied by the beautiful peaty and smoky influence, but also greatly balanced as we know from Ardbeg. Easily to play with for a long time even without taking a sip. Excellent!
Well it is time to leave the nose alone and go a step further by talking a sip of this whisky. It starts of reasonably sweet, letting the sherry casks doing their yob. But while you are playing in your mouth with this sip for a while, the more smoke and peatiness are kicking in. Evolves into a salty, peaty, quite earthy and somewhat tarry dram covered with a nice sweetness from the sherry casks. Also quite some spiciness of cinnamon and even some nutmeg. Again excellent!
Just a slight bitterness from the sherry casks, but very long and quite dark peated, smoked flavours keeps playing with your senses in your mouth and nose. Very complex with furthermore displaying feint hints of burning ashes, tobacco and leathery peaty notes. The sherry influence seems, despite the slight bitterness, disappearing in the finish. Not much fruits, just a touch of dried figs, giving this dram a slightly dark warming extremely pleasant feeling.
Peat and Sherry seems to be a difficult marriage, but in this whisky it is a very happy one. It is excellent balanced, never giving way to the fact that this is a hardcore Islay dram, but adding lots of complexity and fun in tasting and enjoying this whisky. Chapeau for the master blender who did “make” this whisky!
Probably you will have noticed that I am very much in love with this whisky. It is probably my favourite whisky at the moment, so be warned…… I will score this one at 97 points! I hope you will forgive me this ridicule score and for now I am going to enjoy emptying my glass!