Ardbeg Uigeadail (pronounced “Oog-a-dal”) is a special vatting of Islay Single Malt Whisky that marries Ardbeg’s traditional deep, smoky notes with luscious, raisin-y tones derived from old ex-Sherry casks.
The Ardbeg distillery was officially founded in 1815 by the MacDougall family. It has seen a chequered history and struggled through the 1970s until it was mothballed in 1981. There was some sporadic production in the years thereafter until 1997 when Ardbeg was taken over by Glenmorangie Plc which was then owned by Pernod Ricard. Today the distillery (along with Glenmorangie) is owned by Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy and grows from strength to strength. The Ardbeg distillery is located on the most southerly part of the island of Islay.
Ardbeg are most famous for their heavily peated but perfectly balanced whiskies. They use the most phenolic malt (smokiest) from maltings in Port Ellen. The grain is milled at the distillery and made into a mash which is then fermented in Oregon Pine wash backs prior to distillation. The unusual spirit still, with its purifier, thought to be the only one on Islay is what many believe contributes to this balance and complexity. The spirit is finally aged in ok casks from many sources. These are primarily ex-Bourbon, first and second fill, but many other cask types are used too. As the distillery sits very close to the sea, the whisky receives a certain salty, iodine character while it matures.
Ardbeg Uigeadail is non chill-filtered at high strength, so that it retains maximum flavour with more body and added depth. Bottled at 54.2% ABV.
Ardbeg Uigeadail takes its name from the mysterious loch, 3 miles up the hill behind the distillery, which supplies the peat-laden water used to make Ardbeg.
Colour: Deepest Gold
Aroma: 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.