When discussing whiskies without an age statement, the Ardbeg Uigeadail is always mentioned as one of the best examples of a quality NAS-whisky. It is probably the best of the standard range that Ardbeg offers. It is an immensely popular whisky, and many think it better than the recent hyped special releases such as the Perpetuum and Auriverdes.
One thing to keep in mind when it comes to the Uigeadail, is that it is bottled in batches. And there is quite some difference between them. People who have been drinking Uigeadail for some time now, are complaining about its deteriorating quality. Here is an interesting comparison on the Danish Whisky Blog on batches ranging from 2004 to 2014, which shows that there can be quite some inconsistency. The Uigeadail I review below is from 2008.
Ardbeg Uigeadail (54,2%, OB, #L08 084)
Nose: Salted peanuts and toasted oak accompanied by campfire smoke. It’s followed by moss and pinewood with earl grey tea. Some sweet sherry notes, almost like red wine. And a hint of varnish too. Wonderful balance.
Taste: Peat, iodine, rubber and wood smoke. Briny with ginger and pepper. Finally some burned caramel and toffee.
Finish: Rubber and peat. Earthy. Some lemon and vanilla. Long, smoky and sweet.
A big step up from the Ardbeg 10 I recently tasted, which was already pretty good. This has more balance, depth and richness. Better in every which way.
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.