Ardbeg Uigeadail Review

Ardbeg UigeadailMar102012 070

54.2% abv

Score:  92.5/100


Can you hear the distant rumblings?  Imagine the sky turning the color of bruises and black eyes?

This…this is the fearsome dark storm of Islay.  Its enormity is almost intimidating.  Its might and majesty so beyond the scope we’re used to seeing in such a young and core range bottling.  This is like standing on the shores of Islay while the skies tear open above.  Like being lambasted by gusts of rain and hurricane winds.  And also like feeling grateful simply for having stood so close to the vortex and lived to tell.  This is nature’s fiercest, distilled and decanted.  This is one of the most blindingly original whiskies I have ever tried.

At once sweet, salty and smoky.  A deep sherry influence, while not overburdening, is held in check by dense layers of smoke.  There are notes of chocolate and warm leather carried, no doubt, by the sherried casks.  Tendrils of salted meat and roasting…well…just roasting something.

The smoke, brine and seasoned meat carry to the palate as well, here gaining a sharp little prickle from a thread of anise.  The chariot that delivers this complex amalgamation of all that is Islay (and so much more) is the perfect vehicle at a respectable 54.2% (When will all of the others learn?).

This is a sublimely heavy and brooding dram.  A ‘noir’ whisky, if ever one was made.  Deeper and darker than a Lynch movie, this is a whisky for the most introspective and dark-hearted to mull over in the most forbidding depths of the darkest lounge.

There is simply no doubt about it…this is one of the best whiskies I’ve yet to find.  Spectacular.


– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

12 thoughts on “Ardbeg Uigeadail Review

  1. Jeff

    Nice review, though I didn’t find it quite as noir as you did. For me, it was more of a war in a bottle: the sherry on top in the beginning, then the peat slowly, inevitably, turning the tables. I was turned off initially, but it’s now where and what it should be: a strong sherried Ardbeg (though it took about 9 months!). I’d be interested in others take on this, and also on thoughts about its pricing/value, though I know that’s different for everyone. Hoping the boys are well in Islay.

    1. Robert

      It’s a very good Islay, but I prefer Corry, Laga 16, Laga 12 and some bottlings of Ardbeg 10. I will say the bottles of Uigeadail I’ve had have been consistent in quality, at least as compared to the 10, which is important to me.

    2. Robert

      I forgot to mention the pricing.

      Corryvrecken $61, Uigeadail $68, Ardbeg 10 $38, Lagavulin 12 $61, Lagavulin 16 $58. It’s the most expensive of the five and I don’t rate it quite as good as the others, so you can see where i’m putting my dinero. I’d actually rather buy Laphroaig CS (and just did, batch 3, for $59) as it is a very different tasting Islay. By the way, I really like my batch 2, which is getting down to a few drams left. Anyone have comments on the batch 3? Batch 4 showed up in a local store which had been out, and sold out in a few days. Total surprised me, so I missed out on it, but found the 3 in another store.

  2. ATW Post author

    Interestingly enough, one of the claims I’ve heard leveled against the Uigeadail is that its consistency leaves something to be desired. I’ve never found this personally.

    Either way…simply a great gram. I will concede to being slightly more partial to the Corryvreckan.

    Recently tried the Ardbeg Day and Ardbeg Galileo on Islay. Details to come.

  3. Peter Benkoczki

    In my opinion, the quaility of the Uigeadail is getting down from year to year. I first met with the 2009 bottling, it was fantastic. The 2010 was also quite good, but something was missing. The 2011 was lacking the depth of the 2009, i was dissapointed. Now i was able to get a 2005 bottling, i hope it will be fantastic. 🙂

    1. Jeff

      Yes, it is crazy; LCBO prices are inexplicable, even for a monopoly, and seem completely unrelated to the market. The LCBO, supposedly the world’s single largest liquor retailer, won’t even negotiate volume discounts with its suppliers, so price is literally no object to them.

  4. Pingback: Battle Of The Titans! Caol Ila 18 year Old Versus Ardbeg Uigeadail - Saucy Dressings

  5. bob

    Hey “Battle”,

    I don’t think this is a cask strength whisky. Hard to believe each and every batch is at CS and happens to come in at 54.2%….

    1. ATW Post author

      Correct. This is not cask strength, but what I usually refer to as a ‘manufactured strength’. Without knowing better, one would assume cask strength, simply due to the odd abv.

      HOWEVER…your point about it being hard to believe they could make it consistently cask strength at 54.2% may not be as strong an argument as you think. Glenfarclas 105 is always presented at 60% and it IS cask strength. George Grant has confirmed that they vat to hit exactly that number for each batch. A very interesting story behind that one, but we’ll save that for another day.

      1. bob

        Absolutely true that (the Glenfarclas). but at what cost?

        When I contacted Glen-F they confirmed they were dropping the 10 YO age statement because they could not maintain enough casks to keep the ABV at 60%

  6. Saucy Dressings

    Hello Bob – I’ve just checked with Arrbeg, and they confirm “Ardbeg Uigeadail in non chill filtered at high strength (54.2%) – it’s not bottled at cask or natural strength.”


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