Ardbeg Uigeadail Review

Ardbeg Uigeadail Review

Ardbeg Uigeadail was initially released in 2003, is made by blending ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks together, and was one of the first whiskies out there to “legitimize” the No Age Statement movement that was beginning to build steam. Its critically lauded reception also laid the path for all of the NAS Ardbeg core and special releases to come which, as time has prove, has been the majority of them.

I recently had a chance to ask Dr. Bill Lumsden about the NAS trend in Ardbeg and Glenmorangie special and core releases and he basically said this (though not verbatim): “If all of our special releases were hamstrung by an arbitrary number we wouldn’t get the range and depth of flavors we get out of them now. Instead of concentrating fully on what it smells and tastes like I’d be forced to keep a number in the back of my mind and should I come across a cracking set of casks that would go great in the release but didn’t match that number I couldn’t use them and that’s not what I want to do. I want to put out the best release I can which means ignoring how many times it’s been around the sun.”

Like I said, that’s not verbatim, but is more of a hodgepodge of snippets I wrote down. Either way though, the fact that he has been able to put out so many interesting and tasty releases that soon fetch hundreds of dollars on the secondary market is a testament that he’s doing NAS right and, at least for him, isn’t just an excuse to flood the market with young, uninteresting whisky.

Ardbeg Uigeadail Review

Distiller: Ardbeg
Age: NAS
ABV: 54.2%
Bottling: L13 148 17:00 6ML
Price: $75

Cask Strength
Non-Chill Filtered
Natural Color

EYE
Amber

NOSE
There is a freshness to the nose that is surprising when you think of what a peat bomb Ardbeg is. Peat, sherry sweetness, dark juicy fruit, warm fruit cake spice, honey and vanilla make up the bulk with lighter notes of dark sweets, brine, citrus peel and a tomato like acidity moving through. Water moves the citrus peel to more of a lemon oil character and some tobacco hints show up.

PALATE
Peat and sweet is the name of the game here. Peat and sherry sweetness dominate the flavor with notes of pepper, graham cracker pie crust, citrus oil and dark sweets filling in most of the background. Light notes of cocoa, honey, vanilla and fruit fill the undercurrent. Water brings out a bit of nuttiness and a bit of bitterness.

FINISH
Long fade of peat and sweet with notes of graham and citrus oil keeping things interesting.

BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
Perfectly balanced with a rich round body and thick oily texture.

OVERALL
Ardbeg Uigeadail is peat and sweet heaven. It’s a perfectly balanced marriage of flavors that is complex enough you can sit back and pick it apart all day long if you want, but approachable enough that you don’t have to in order to fully enjoy it. There’s a reason this stalwart of the Ardbeg core line up has been so highly lauded and awarded over the years. It’s really damn good!

SCORE: 94/100

Ardbeg Uigeadail
  • Nose - 96
  • Palate - 93
  • Finish - 94
  • Balance, Body & Feel - 95

Value

Ardbeg Uigeadail is a big burly whisky at a great price for what you get. In the world of cask strength scotch this is a winner all day long.

Josh Peters
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Josh Peters

I read about, think about, write about, and drink whisk(e)y. In short, it's my passion.
Josh Peters
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8 Responses to Ardbeg Uigeadail Review

  1. Of course the NAS trend is disappointing and there have been some pretty big mistakes imo that I don’t fully trust ardbeg. Eg blasda, Galileo, alligator, even 2014 supernova seem a bit flooded with young spirit rushed spirit. Even perpetuum has quite a bit of 10 characteristics to it.

    It’s good marketing. That’s for sure. But I can pickup a Laphroaig 18 for a perpetuum and I know one doesn’t have 4, 6, 8? yr old spirit in it. Not that it’s necessarily poor quality but certainly price is partially an indicator of labor and 18 years of care is harder than 4.

    • You say labor is a partial indicator of price, which is absolutely true, at least as far as determining the cost of production, but for scotch, which is increasingly seen as a luxury item (see this quarter’s Whiskey Advocate for an interesting take on this), the marginal cost plays little/to no hand in determining the final cost. See items like the extremely young Kavalans or Octomore, for examples, and, increasingly, expensive NAS whiskies.

  2. Dude reviewing a 2013 Uigeadail and giving it a 94 is like dangling a steak in front of a dog and then taking it away. They are long gone in my town, and in most American stores. How about reviewing a newer Uigie that we can actually buy, or better yet . . . use your connections to figure out the best batch lately and review it, or a couple of batches in 2015 and any in 2016 if they exist. I would do it, but Godaddy took back my site license and keeps ripping me off so my website is down yet again.

    • I’ll see if I can get Ardbeg to send a sample of a newer one or see if one of my friends has one open I can try. It’s one of those whiskies that’s definitely worth trying every couple of years. Cheers!

  3. Your review was another of those “straw that broke the camel’s back” deals, Josh! Picking up one of these tomorrow. Didn’t think I would enjoy peat until a local whiskey get together yielded an eye-opening, tasty experience with a 30-year-old Caol Ila, Bruichladdich PC6, and a few Octomores. Wow. Ooogie is going to be a welcome addition.

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