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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

February 27, 2014


A very rare Ardmore and other ones

Ardmore’s always been peated, but they do sometimes make an unpeated version only for blending, called Ardlair (and sometimes Ardless, it seems, but that’s for fun). The lovely distillery has bottled a few sample bottles but those remain off-commerce. Luckily, I visited the distillery with some good friends a few days ago, so, here we go…

Ardlair (46%, OB, unpeated Ardmore, official miniature, off-commerce, +/-2013)

Ardlair (46%, OB, unpeated Ardmore, official miniature, off-commerce, +/-2013) Four stars No age or vintage stated. Colour: gold. Nose: starts with plenty of overripe apples as well as a very peculiar kind of rubber. Old washers? I also find some stones from various fruits, but that’s not exactly almonds this time. Also touches of overripe melons, warm butter, apple compote, a little porridge… I don’t think this baby’s very old, but what’s sure is that it’s quite unusual. It does not remind me of any other distillery. Mouth: excellent! Wow! It’s young but it’s vibrant, with some high-quality gueuze beer, some butter cream, melons and peaches again, apple pie and tart, and then bags and bags of plums. Really, I like this a lot. Finish: quite long, slightly resinous (retsina wine?) and very fruity again. Melon! Comments: I’m sure the rubber in the nose came from a lack of ageing. This is a cracker, I hope they’ll issue some well-aged Ardlair one day. SGP:551 - 85 points.

While we’re at it, let’s also have…

Ardmore 'Traditional Cask' (46%, OB, peated, finished in quarter casks, +/-2013)

Ardmore 'Traditional Cask' (46%, OB, peated, finished in quarter casks, +/-2013) Three stars and a half Last time I tried this expression that was in 2008. I had rather enjoyed it (WF 81). Colour: gold. Nose: this is a very particular peat that comes out loud and clear. We’re far from coastal peat, seaweed, hospitals or fishermen’s boats, we’re rather sitting around a campfire where someone is burning both grass and fruit tree wood. On top of that, the same kinds of melons and peaches that we had found in Ardlair, some vanilla and, maybe, a wee touch of antiseptic that I hadn’t found in the arrival. Nice freshness. Mouth: I think they improved the recipe. It’s no big whisky, the mouth feel is even a little light and thin, but it’s all beautifully clean. Lovely herbal peat, peaches, a touch of chardonnay, a little ginger, some vanilla but not too much… So all fine. Finish: not extremely long but still clean and fruity. Smoked peaches? Comments: it’s a very different peated malt, far from Islay and even quite far from other peated mainlanders from Speyside or elsewhere. I think they improved the recipe. Oh, and if you like peaches… SGP:534 - 83 points.

Ardmore 13 yo (57%, Jack Wiebers, World of Orchids, 2013)

Ardmore 13 yo (57%, Jack Wiebers, World of Orchids, 2013) Two stars and a half Unearthing series of old images that are free of rights is really becoming the favourite game at many independent bottlers’, after Moon Import who really were the pioneers. Shall we soon see series of Outer-Mongolian catapults or old Guatemalan saucepans on our favourite whiskies? Now, orchids are lovely… Colour: straw. Nose: very little peat this time, rather a lot of pineapple cooked in butter and honey. It’s got a sour side, but that isn’t unpleasant. With water: a little peat now but other than that, not many changes. Maybe more sour fruits. Mouth (neat): more peat this time, as well as a combination of pepper and ginger that should come from some rather active wood. Behind that, the expected peaches and melons. Lemon balm, ginger tonic and cooking butter… With water: the oak comes out. Ginger and Schweppes. Finish: quite long and, er, Schweppessy. Schweppes-orange. Comments: not quite my cup of malt but it’s fun whisky. Very lightly peated for Ardmore (usually 15ppm if I’m not mistaken, this feels like 5. Oh please forget about that…) SGP:552 - 79 points.

(With thanks to Alistair)

More tasting notes Check the index of all Ardmore I've tasted so far







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