Discover the differences between two of the best Islay Scotch whiskies: Ardbeg Uigeadail vs Lagavulin Distiller’s Edition in this in-depth comparison and decide which Single Malt is better for You!
|Nose||Smoke, bacon, iodine|
|Palate||Smoke, ash, ripe fruit, chocolate|
|Finish||Caramel, smoke, menthol, pepper|
|Alcohol content||108 proof (54% ABV)|
|How to drink||Add water|
|Similar to||Ardbeg 10, Ardbeg An Oa|
The nose is a blast of smoke, with a heavy meaty note that smells like bacon. There’s also a iodine note typical of Islay whiskies.
On the palate, Uigeadail feels creamy providing a nice mouthfeel. Flavor brings heavy smoke and ash up-front, once you get that initial brick you get rewarded with ripe fruit, bitter chocolate and toasted barley.
The finish is long, bringing pleasing warmth, more smoke and pepper, along caramel and menthol.
This whisky is intense, full of smoke, with warm earthy notes, sherry sweetness and rich in minerality. The finish is long and pleasantly warm and peppery; it gets better with every sip.
If you want to tame it a bit and tune down the peaty notes add a few drops of water; that will allow sweetness to come forward.
Overall, Uigeadail is fantastic dram and the best Ardbeg Whisky reserved for experienced whisky aficionados that can handle the rich peaty notes, a pleasant bite and the high proof as it was bottled at cask strength, meaning from the barrel and completely unadulterated.
Uigeadail, pronounced “Oog-a-dal”, was named “Whisky of the Year” by the Whisky Bible in 2009, receiving 97.5 points out of 100. This is the highest grade ever given by Jim Murray; so you get an idea of how good it is.
If you are still a newbie there are better options for you or prefer overly smooth drams this in not for You!
There are a few facts worth knowing about this single malt:
- Aged in ex-bourbon barrels and sherry butts.
- The Ardbeg Uigeadail has no age statement.
- This whisky is a blend of smoky malts with sweet whiskies aged in sherry casks.
- This whisky was named “Whisky of the Year” by the Whisky Bible in 2009, receiving 97.5 points out of 100.
- This whisky is not chill-filtered.
- Ardbeg doesn’t add caramel-coloring to it releases.
Lagavulin Distiller’s Edition
|Nose||Caramel, smoke, plum|
|Palate||Smoke, ripe fruit, salt|
|Finish||Oak, vanilla, baking spice, smoke|
|Alcohol content||86 proof (43% ABV)|
|How to drink||Add water|
|Similar to||Laphroaig PX Cask, Lagavulin 16|
The Distiller’s Edition is the same whisky as the Lagavulin 16 but finished in casks that were previously used to mature Pedro Ximenez sherry wine. Commonly referred to as P.X., this wine is remarkably sweet, as the grapes are dried under the sun.
The nose hits with smoke at first, followed by caramel and a rich note of plum.
On the palate, Distiller’s brings traditional Lagavulin notes such as smoke and brine up front. As you let it develop it becomes incredibly rich in ripe fruit.
Body is thick and creamy, the mouthfeel is quite smooth and the smoke is quite moderate when compared to the Uigeadail.
The finish is pleasantly long leaving you with a remarkable aftertaste, mostly smoky, rich in baking spice, with a bit of oak spice to it and lingering caramel sweetness.
Did I like it? Yes, one of the nicest and smoothest Islay whiskies I have tried but is not missing any of the key flavors.
Everything is there in perfect harmony making a heck of a dram and one that I should be consuming more often.
There are a few facts worth knowing about the Distiller’s Edition:
- Distiller’s Edition is aged for 16 years in ex-bourbon barrels.
- Distiller’s Edition is part of a release of Single Malts by Diageo that includes other brands such as Talisker, Oban, Cragganmore, Glenkinchie and Dalwhinnie; each double-matured in a different type of cask wood chosen by Master Blenders to complement the characteristics of the whisky.
- All these distilleries contribute with malts to Johnnie Walker’s blended whiskies.
Uigeadail vs Lagavulin Distiller’s Edition: Price comparison
Prices are approximate and stated in USD:
|Lagavulin Distiller’s Edition||$135|
Uigeadail vs Lagavulin Distiller’s Edition: Which is better?
Lagavulin Distiller’s Edition is easier to like
- Lagavulin is easier to like as it tastes sweeter, it’s lighter on the smoke and bottled at lower proof making a safer bet for most consumers.
- Uigeadail is an incredible whisky, yet quite challenging demanding a more determined whisky aficionado.
- The Ardbeg is free of caramel-coloring, is not chill-filtered, bottled at cask strength (no water dilution) providing a more intense experience.
I am a bar and liquor shop owner in Oaxaca, Mexico where I have tasted hundreds of different spirits; perhaps more than I should!