Now this is a review through which I won’t be able to help being all gushy. The Ardbeg Uigeadail is just that good. It is the bar that my nose and my palate have set for all other whiskies to attempt to vault; many have tried, all have failed.
I don’t know what they’re doing there at Ardbeg, but this No Age Statement Scotch epitomizes my belief (as shared by Jim Murray, among others) that age doesn’t make a good whisky. Careful thought and expert craftsmanship make a good whisky. Laphroaig has done it with the Quarter Cask. Aberlour has done it with the a’Bunadh. Especially when peat is involved, there are merits to blending the youthful and the matured.
On to the review.
Nose: This has everything. Peat. sherry, whiffs of choclatey sweetness. Swirl the glass and get hickory BBQ sauce. There is so much depth here, and even at its full 54.2% ABV, it’s still pleasant to nose. That said, add a teaspoon of water. It opens everything up just that much more.
Palate: Peat, baby. Lots of it. Deliciously viscous, mouth-coating, and not too hot at all. Smooth, velvety and wonderful on the tongue. It delivers much of what the nose promises, but that’s what I like about it. It delivers them in a no-nonsense kind of way: the flavours are bold, but balanced. The best way I’ve been able to describe the Uigeadail is this:
“Start with a dark chocolate Aero bar, where the cocoa beans were roasted by peat fires. Then, fill the bubbles with peat-infused sherry. Take your peat-infused sherry-filled Aero and wrap it with peat-smoked bacon.”
Finish: Warming. Lasts for an eternity.
While this review doesn’t seem to be as complex as the Auchentoshan 18, I assure you that it is so much more. In that review, I proclaimed that a whisky, to get an A- or higher, should give me two experiences. That is still true, but it’s not an absolute. Sometimes a whisky does a handful of things so spectacularly that adding anything else would only muddy up the waters.
Now, in Ontario, the Ardbeg Uigeadail is a scam. $167 for 70cl. In Calgary, it is $101 for 75cl. Totally worth it. Also, in the U.S (Chicago) it is $70. I had my two bottles brought for me from Chicago, and this whisky is an absolute steal at that price. It’s very likely that I will never find another whisky under $100 anywhere that can compare to this Ardbeg. It’s also possible that, with the stores of Port Ellen around the world vanishing, I will never find another whisky that betters it, period. Of course, I hope that I’m wrong here, because it would be a short journey if this indeed was the summit.