IT'S about time I featured a peaty malt, so what better place to start than with the Ardbeg Uigeadail. I bought a bottle back in January and its dark, earthy character perfectly suited those long, cold nights.
However, when summer rolls around, I usually put the peated stuff at the back of the cupboard and wait for winter. But this weekend, the wind picked up, the rain pelted against the window and the central heating noisily rattled into life again. Any excuse to revisit my winter collection! The Uigeadail is named after the Islay loch from which the distillery draws its water and it comes with no age statement. The spirit is matured in a combination of ex-bourbon casks and sherry butts and is bottled at a hefty 54.2%.
As you would expect, there's a hefty punch of peat on the nose, but there's also a wonderful sherry sweetness which immediately follows, giving the whisky a rich and rounded character. The tartness of sharp red berries is also prevalent along with bitter dark chocolate notes. It might be a strange observation - and forgive me if I go all Jilly Goolden on you here - but I also get a whiff of tar, damp wet leaves and salty sea spray, too.
In the mouth, the Uigeadail is silky smooth and slightly oily, with waves of salty sweet peat, smoke, oak, chillies and dark chocolate assaulting the taste buds.
The finish is long and spicy, with a coffee-like bitterness, while a delicious sweetness kicks in to take the edge off the smoky peat to leave a warm and comforting taste.
A superb whisky and just the ticket to take the chill off the bones when the temperature starts to drop.