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Distilled Spirits: Ardbeg Uigeadail Traditional Islay Single Malt Whisky

Uigeadail derives from the Scotch Gaelic for ‘Dark and Mysterious Place’ and is named for the Loch from whence Ardbeg draws its waters. Jim Murray’s 2009 World Whisky of the Year, this cask-strength bottle exudes breathtaking balance.

Ardbeg Uigeadail (pronounced ‘Oog-a-dal’) is a special vatting that marries Ardbeg’s traditional deep, smoky notes with luscious, raisiny tones of old ex-Sherry casks. It’s non chill-filtered at high strength, which retains maximum flavour and gives more body and added depth.


Tasting Note

Nose: Multifaceted, notes of peat and little flourishes of dark sugar, freshly ground espresso beans, cereal notes and a most sophisticated tar.

Palate: Led by sweet, ripe fruit and black forest honey. A good helping of malt. The throne then usurped by a powerful peat and smoked barley.

Finish: Very long, caramel and malt weave their way through peat smoke and dark sugar and just a hint of fresh espresso coffee before it finally peters out.

Overall: Such deft balance! How wonderful to sample Ardbeg so beautifully complimented by sherry.

Ardbeg

Ardbeg lies solitary, in a small cove off the south coast of Islay. It was once a stage for illegal distillation, when smugglers took advantage of the remote location and exceptional conditions for whisky production. Eventually, excise men seized the original, illegitimate buildings from the smugglers and destroyed them. It was not until 1815 that a legal distillery was established and founded by John McDougall. Sitting nearby leviathan distilleries; Laphroaig and Lagavulin, Ardbeg has always produced a very sought-after single malt, despite its production scale being less than half that of its neighbours.

Ardbeg Distillery

After running into some financial difficulties the distillery closed in 1981 and it was not until 1989 that distillation resumed, although on a very small scale. After closing again in 1996, then owners, Allied Domecq, put the distillery up for sale. It was bought in 1997 by Glenmorangie Co and was, at last, restored to its former grandeur. Its chief watersource, Loch Uigeadail, or ‘dark and mysterious place’ in Gaelic, became the inspiration for a bottling launched in 2003 under the same name. Ardbeg Uigeadail was later Jim Murray’s 2009 World Whisky of the Year, a title held previously by Ardbeg’s ten year-old. Ardbeg has become known for its rich, peated whiskies, very easily identifiable by their fullness of body and perfect harmony of flavour.

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