Strength: 54.2 %
You can imagine the universe of single malt Scotch as a diagram as shown thusly:
As this highly accurate, long-researched model shows, there is a low proportion of malts that are both peated and sherried. Ardbeg Uigeadail fills this space, and it does so beautifully. On the nose, one is first hit by the classic Ardbeg tar smoke, but the sherry also asserts itself. Keep nosing and you'll also find vanilla taffy, oak, and licorice. The peat and sherry are perfectly balanced in this dram, and the combination lends a sort of "dirty" quality to the whisky. There is no age statement, and in one sip you'll focus on the lively spices and peat smoke and think it must be eight years old. Then the next sip you'll find creamy vanilla and refined oak and think it must be seventeen years old. It's all here: peat smoke and wood smoke, young and old, sherry spices and mellow vanilla. These notes culminate in a smoke explosion of a finish that endures.
Uigeadail is the story of perpetually unresolved tensions; the paradoxical balancing of impossible values; indeed, an invitation to participate in the dialectics of the great philosophers. If I had to choose just one Scotch for the rest of my life, this would be it. 98 points (A+).
Other Ardbeg reviews:
The Whisky Exchange.