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

February 6, 2017


Long time no Ardmore

Let’s do something to help the situation! We’ll see if we find some very peated ones, you never quite know with Ardmore…

Ardmore 8 yo 2008/2016 (58.7%, North Star Spirits, refill barrel, 198 bottles)

Ardmore 8 yo 2008/2016 (58.7%, North Star Spirits, refill barrel, 198 bottles) Four stars Another one from this very serious and very lovely new range of whiskies. Colour: pale gold. Nose: it’s one of these bourbon casks that give out hints of dry leafy sherry, but that way as well be the peat, since this is seriously smoky. I’m thinking pine cone smoke, charcoal, or garden bonfire… Some parts remind me of Tomintoul’s Ballantruan. With water: more traditional, more ‘kilny’. Could you smoke apples? Mouth (neat): it’s funny how it feels ‘American craft’, with a very bready smokiness, liquorice, more saps and resins, and then Seville oranges and candied angelica. I’d have never said refill barrel, this feels like first fill or even virgin oak. With water: same comments. A gingery smoke. Finish: long, sweet and pungent at the same time, with some very lovely notes of honey coming out. Ever tried agapanthus honey? Comments: there must have been some kind of innovation going on. And that was a success. Young, modern, and pretty glorious. SGP:555 - 87 points.

While I’m at it, some friends have said that honey was honey, and that going into more details was just, well, superfluous in tasting notes. Poppycock! There can be more differences between two kinds of honey than between a banana and a redcurrant, while both are fruits. Anyway…

Ardlair 5 yo 2009/2015 (47.6%, The Whisky Agency and Acla Da Fans, sherry, 391 bottles)

Ardlair 5 yo 2009/2015 (47.6%, The Whisky Agency and Acla Da Fans, sherry, 391 bottles) Three stars and a half As you may know, Ardlair is the name of Ardmore’s unpeated malt whisky, sometimes nicknamed ‘Ardless’ by the owners themselves. Colour: straw. Nose: plain and pure malt whisky. Barley, ale, lime, vanilla, grass. Probably a little elementary, but totally flawless. The sherry is anecdotal – is there any sherry? Mouth: simple, and extremely good. Sweet malt, bonbons, icing sugar, lemon curd, and repeat. Finish: medium, with a few more grassy and herbal elements. Lime tea, for example. Comments: some excellent, yet elementary young malt whisky that got it all going on. SGP:551 - 83 points.

Ardmore 20 yo 1992/2012 (48.6%, Archives, barrel, cask #4764)

Ardmore 20 yo 1992/2012 (48.6%, Archives, barrel, cask #4764) Five stars Long gone of course, I’m a bit late again. Five years late, pfff… Colour: straw. Nose: this one’s much more austere, sootier, ashier, and indeed more complex. Vegetal oils, barbecued aubergines (don’t ask), metal polish, coal, and then that argan oil that we love so much. So sad that 90% of what’s sold in the world is fake argan oil, but I digress… Mouth: perfect smoky lemon and guavas, and even bananas, camphor, passion fruits, pink grapefruits… Sweet Vishnu, how glorious is this! Extremely well chiselled and super-ultra-clean. Finish: medium, concise, tropical and smoky. Smoked maracujas or something. Comments: some of the very best high-precision Ardmores ever. To think that I needed five years to find out. SGP:555 - 90 points.

It’s going to be difficult to ‘climb over’ that 1992, but where there's a will there's a way.

Ardmore 30 yo 1977/2007 (50%, Douglas Laing, Old Malt Cask, refill sherry, cask #DL 3514, 427 bottles)

Ardmore 30 yo 1977/2007 (50%, Douglas Laing, Old Malt Cask, refill sherry, cask #DL 3514, 427 bottles) Four stars In fact, I had already tried this baby some ten years ago, and thought it was terrible (WF 45) and probably corked. That’s why I’m trying it again, from another bottle provided by my friend Patrick B. Let’s not remain unfair! Colour: gold. Nose: an oily nose for sure, and we’re rather talking graphite oil. I’m also finding cut flowers, peonies for sure, blackcurrant buds, quite some bacon and smoked meats, green walnuts, charcoal, coal tar… Much in line with what I had found back in 2008, but things rather went pear-shaped on the palate, you see… Mouth: okay, it was an accident. This has no glue, no rotting fruits, and no plastic, rather a sharp, lemony peat that’s very clean if a wee tad simplistic given the age of this dram. Some sharp herbal notes, around rocket salad and ‘stuff’, plus this feeling of smoked lemon juice. Green pepper. Finish: long, sharp, and green. Cuts you a bit, while ‘a trace of sherriness’ tends to make it through the smokescreen. Green walnuts. Comments: I’m glad I was wrong, and happy to rehabilitate this wee old Ardmore. Something you can’t quite do on paper, can you! SGP:465 - 85 points.

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







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