Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Ardbeg Uigeadail marries explosive fiery peat with seductive sherry sweetness for a massive flavor bomb

Ardbeg whiskeys are big big big peat bombs. Thank goodness they are back in business (after a closure in the 80s and limited production in most of the 90s) for the stout of hearts who feel that Laphroig, Lagavulin, and Caol Ila are just too wimpy. Ardbegs like Supernova, Corryvreckan, and Crocodile are massive dark smokey maritime affairs. People who seek more light in their palate might be tempted to give Ardbeg a bye. Uigeadail (pronounced OOO-guh-dahl) is the luscious sweet red haired sherry maiden married to the dark peat monster with famous finesse. It is a reason for everyone who likes single malt to find a reason to kiss the monster that lives in the depths of the black pond. (Uigeadail is the name of the black pond where Ardbeg gets their water. It's black from the peat). Thus concludes my attempt at humor. Here's the tasting:
In the glass Uigeadail is a stunning amber gold with some olive tints. Nose is huge and peat smokey with iodine and fresh sea air. First sip wallops with rich honeyed sweetness and warm peat burn exploding through a rich oily texture. By midpalate red fruits, sherry come on strong and the peat smoke has widened. Maritime airs abound, with salt spray, green olives, kippers and oysters. There's oak and vanilla bean at the start of the finish. Finish is huge and long and unfolding with wood resin, char, smoke, and honeyed sherry all the way home. It's a mammoth flavor profile that makes your head swim. It's the kind of dram you can smell 20 feet away in a room where a single glass has aired for 10 minutes. My kids know when I've been drinking Uigeadail without getting closer than 5 feet away - if you catch my drift. There's nothing subtle about this. If you long for density of flavor and want a rich sweet dessert aspect to your peat bomb - this is it. This is a landmark malt. All the reviews are glowing and I hope they are making a ton of this stuff because it deserves a permanent place in the canon.



  1. Wanted to see if you've tasted it again, as it's believed the quality is no longer there, that the 70's casks used in it are gone and they can't recreate the taste with newer whisky. What do you think?

  2. Hi Jim! Yes, the quality of the sherry component has definitely declined over the past few years. A number of bloggers have documented this, including
    The Krav in this Diving for Pearls post.
    Personally, I recently finished an L13 bottle and while the sherry component was less complex and interesting, I still found the combination of young fierce ex-bourbon Ardbeg and some sherry sweetness pretty terrific. Not the same, but still pretty delicious.