Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Whisky Discovery #147

Ardbeg Uigeadail NAS (54.2% abv, OB Bottled 2010 70 cl)
Islay Cask Strength Single Malt
Circa £50.00 70cl
Skype tasting sample of Arbeg's Uigeadail
I have been wanting to try Ardbeg Uigeadail for a while now and it's been near to the top of my wish list since tasting the Ardbeg 10 Year Old last October. Unfortunately something else has always come up before it and so seeing this was available on @WhiskyRepublic's whisky shelf, jumped at the opportunity in our five dram sample swap. I was very good, keeping this small sample bottle, untouched, on my whisky shelf for a good few weeks before our second Skype Tasting last week.

It was the final dram of our Skype tasting and directly followed another heavily peated Islay malt that was very different to this Ardbeg. A lot of the whisky community on Twitter have said some great things about this whisky and seems to be a very popular favourite. In 2009, Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible named Ardbeg Uigeadail ‘World Whisky of the Year’ – in praise of its “utter silky brilliance” and “complexity on a level only a handful of distilleries in the world can even dream of reaching.” It's also listed in Ian Buxton's great book, "101 Whiskies to try before you die"

Ardbeg Uigeadail (pronounced ‘Oog-a-dal’) is a special vatting that marries Ardbeg’s traditional deep, smoky notes with luscious, raisiny tones of old ex-Sherry casks. Uigeadail derives from the Scotch Gaelic for 'Dark and Mysterious Place' and is named for the Loch from whence Ardbeg draws its waters. It's non chill-filtered at high strength, which retains maximum flavour and gives more body and added depth.

So what did I think?

It has a lovely deep golden colour and thick legs slowly run down my nosing glass when swirled. It has the most awesome nose with notes of peat, lump coal, tar, dark brown sugar, freshly ground coffee beans, and some fruity notes. There's a slight whiff of a disinfectant or elastoplast too, actually I'm starting to think it is Germoline or even Deep Heat!

I love the nose on this, after getting used to the medicinal notes, so much more lies underneath this smouldering smokey coal fire; Sweet treacle toffee, rich Christmas cake, a touch of pine forest and freshly cut cedar wood. With water there's definitely a hint of diesel engine amongst the tarry smoke, but the toffee sweetness and coffee walnut cake keeps making a welcome appearance through the haze. Just spectacular!

An initial sweetness hits the tongue, rich fruits from the Christmas cake, a hint of marzipan before being followed by a spicy smokiness which is just heavenly, the medicinal notes come through that remind me of the old Victory V lozenges I used to like as a schoolboy. Wave upon wave of sweetness balanced with the peaty smokiness take over the senses

The finish is intense.It is incredibly long and initially very hot peppery spice which is promptly followed by a sweet caramel and malt, balanced by that smouldering coal fire again. The peaty tang remains for long time. I finished my dram over an hour ago, and can still taste the peaty smoke at the back of my mouth! This whisky will remain high on my wish list, and I think will need to be on my shelf at all times. If you are ever wondering what to buy me, a bottle of Ardbeg Uigeadail would always be welcome - I could never have too much!

No comments: