After being surprised by both the Bunnahabhain Eirigh na Greine and Bowmore Gold Reef, our Islay trio closed with this Ardbeg.
We sampled it blind, with no idea beyond it being the last of the Islay trio.
Ardbeg Uigeadail 54.2%
- Nose – Very meaty, a proper peat bog, one even said “the peat is nearly at the level of headache inducing”, burnt masala maggi noodles, curd and sour imli (tamarind)… was that black liquorice?
- Palate – Wildfire chillie, frankly had a solid “sucker punch”, sour ash, a real khaata meetha (sour sweet) quality, some saunf (fennel), then pure cinnamon
- Finish – Fabulous long finish, cinnamon spice chased by smoke
One described it as “buzzing with peat” and we began to run through our roster of peatier drams. No stamp of Laphroaig and certainly not Caol Ila or Kilchoman.
It didn’t have the balance or depth of an Octomore, had a different swagger we didn’t instantly associate with Port Charlotte either… so not Bruichladdich….
Our speculation turned to Ardbeg, yet didn’t quite mesh with either Supernova or the more familiar 10 year fare… at least so we thought. Perhaps a sherry dimension peaking in there? Ardbeg but not quite the familiar Ardbeg…?
Again, we were not so confident in our ability to place this whisky.
The unveiling?? Uigeadail!
Which sparked memories of the superb Corryvrecken..
Checking out my old tasting notes online, read….
- Nose – Hello peat! With a dash of espresso, then a delightful curl of maple syrup, underneath a whiff of iodine, then liquorice
- Taste – Peaty dancing around a camp fire! A bit of tar, like chewing the end of a cigar, an odd almost flat cola flavour, raisins…
- Finish – Smoky, dry, rubber… then elements of dried apricot
Not so far off… at which point attention turned to the official tasting notes:
- Nose: Rich and weighty with heady and smoky aromatics. At full strength, the initial aroma is a beguiling mix of warm Christmas cake, walnut oil and parma violets fused with fresh ocean spice, cedar and pine needles falling from the Christmas tree. A smouldering coal fire and the scent of well-oiled leather brings warmth. The sweetness of treacle toffees and chocolate-coated raisins emerge through the smoke. With water, the deep smokiness increases in intensity, reminiscent of a fired Christmas pudding. Rich flowering currants and warm baked banana and walnut bread are served with simmering mocha espresso.
- Taste: Full flavoured and rich with a deep mouth-coating texture, the taste is an intriguing balance between sweet, spicy and deep smoky flavours. The flavour is initially sweet. A burst of winter spices sets off a smoky-spicy explosion countered by a sumptuous mid-palate of honey glazed smoked food and chewy treacle. Waves of deep smoky tones and rich aromas build up on the palate like a fine Montecristo cigar.
- Finish: Amazingly long and chewy with lingering raisiny, deep mocha tones and rich aromatic smoke into the perfectly integrated finish.
What did we sample with our Islay trio?
- Bunnahabhain Eirigh na Greine “Morning Sky” Batch 5, 46.3% – Provided by our host exactly 2 years ago from Batch 1 – August 2015
- Bowmore Gold Reef 43% – Also tried as part of a Bowmore Travel Trilogy by the Whisky Ladies in April 2017
- Ardbeg Uigeadail 54.2% – I shared tasting notes from an earlier experience in April 2015
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