Holiday time and a trip through duty-free sees me in 'boy in sweetie shop' mode. Edinburgh Airport's selection doesn't seem to be what it used to though. There is variety but much of it seems to be underwhelming 'travel-retail only' from some of the industry's big guns who jump at the chance to proffer a new name or two with no age-statement and the auld ABV of 40%. Some of it is more or less the same stuff you can buy in a local supermarket except that here you have 'trained' sales-rep types mangling the Gaelic names on the likes of Glenlivet or Glenmorangie.... "La Santa? You mean LASanta?!"
I had decided beforehand that the bottle to keep me warm on this holiday would be the Bowmore 100 Degrees Proof or maybe the Ardbeg Uigeadail. The absence of the Bowmore rendered the decision an easy one.
Ardbeg though has been disappointing of late. Last year's purchase of the Corryvreckan was a mistake. It was underwhelming. More so when I had the choice of the Uigeadail. It may be another NoAgeStatement but it's reasonably priced and it's a flaming great dram. It has a fabulously filthy flavour if you excuse the alliteration. Oily with flavours of TCP, dirty leather and the old Portobello swimming baths back when they were filled with seawater from the Firth of Forth. On top of the peat though there's a little sweetness. It's drinkable at the ABV of 54.2% though a smidgen on water does no harm.
Here's hoping Ardbeg get back to the robust and direct approach to whisky that gave us Renaissance and Airigh nam Beist as well as Uigeadail. An approach that married simplicity with complexity without over the top marketing or cask-strength gimmickry.