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

December 27, 2018


More Ardmore

From Teacher’s very lovely and very traditional Speyside Distillery up there.

Ardmore 15 yo 2002/2017 (46%, Chieftain’s, Madeira finish, cask #94091, 519 bottles)

Ardmore 15 yo 2002/2017 (46%, Chieftain’s, Madeira finish, cask #94091, 519 bottles) Four stars
Not exactly all wine-finished whiskies are under-spirits, that’s what we could learn over the years. And Madeira often works! Colour: light gold. Nose: yes indeed, this worked! Wonderful breads and sour creams and fruits, mild chutneys, and a little manure. Horse saddle and very earthy teas. Very nice nose! Mouth: really excellent. Sweet mustard, triple-sec, a drop of pastis, wholegrain bread, liquorice, cinnamon cake, heather honey and sour apples. Extremely good, greatly made. Finish: medium, yet rich, jammy and spicy. Notes of mead and canchanchara (google is your friend, even if some say they’re thieves). Comments: what a lovely concoction by Ian MacLeod! Loved the sweet mustard and caraway that were roaming around this wee whisky. Now I’m afraid there wasn’t as much peat as in other Ardmores – or was this Ardless rather than Ardmore? Not a joke, some do use that name in the business, mind you!
SGP:653 - 87 points.

Ardmore 1996/2017 (53.5%, The First Editions, refill hogshead, 90 bottles)

Ardmore 1996/2017 (53.5%, The First Editions, refill hogshead, 90 bottles) Two stars and a half
Other expressions from these batches have been a little difficult I have to say, too yeasty or even feinty for me, let’s see… Colour: straw. Nose: indeed, I remember these, they’re full of ink, porridge, dry herbs, coal ashes… And absolutely no fruits. With water:  hay and dung, we’re in a farm somewhere in Aberdeenshire. Mouth (neat): really bizarre, not totally integrated, with a feeling of smoked pears that’s not extremely pleasant. And chewing pine needles. It really is an unusual peater, pretty acrid and pungent. With water: careful, it’s not a great swimmer as tends to become even more drying and acrid. Very dry herbal and mineral smoke. Finish: rather long, with a very green smokiness over… dry absinth? Comments: I think I’ll have to work further on these (not too) funny 1996s.
SGP:255 - 78 points.

Back to a younger one…

Aird Mhor 8 yo 2009/2018 (55.3%, The Single Malts of Scotland, cask # 707910, 261 bottles)

Aird Mhor 8 yo 2009/2018 (55.3%, The Single Malts of Scotland, cask # 707910, 261 bottles) Three stars and a half
This is well Ardmore, matured in an ex-Laphroaig barrel. I don’t quite know why ‘London’ are using the name Aird Mhor, but why not? Colour: white wine. Nose: Williams pears, so young. A touch of vanilla, moss, mercurochrome, and deep-smoked water. With water: visiting a distillery that’s doing peaty. Just any. Or perhaps the Port Ellen Maltings? It’s true that there might be very wee whiffs of strawberry yoghurt… Mouth (neat): much less immature than on the nose, tenser, very smoky, with more medicinal notes (from Laphroaig?) and touches of aniseed and caraway in the background. The smoke tends to bite your lips – well that’s not the smoke, but you get the idea. With water: young indeed, yet balanced, although it would become a little metallic. Pineapples have joined in, but the whole picture remains as smoky as a… say a working kiln. Finish: long, rather on smoked pears this time again. Comments: a very good extra-smoky young Ardmore. It’s hard to find better ones at such young age.
SGP:457 - 84 points.

Ardmore 9 yo (60.10%, Chorlton Whisky, bourbon barrel, 153 bottles)

Ardmore 9 yo (60.10%, Chorlton Whisky, bourbon barrel, 153 bottles, 2018) Four stars
So another young one, let’s see. By the way, Chorlton are really having exceptional labels, this one looks a bit like some Jheronimus Bosch, doesn’t it? Once the bottle’s empty you could always frame the label and hang it in your room… Colour: white wine. Nose: bang, perfect balance, with liquorice, smoked bread, vanilla, and butterscotch. The cask was good. With water: preserved mirabelles, and much less smoke, as if my faithful Vitell did eradicate any peatiness. That’s funny. Mouth (neat): excellent and simple, simply excellent. You don’t always need complexity when you’ve got balance and a feeling of fulness. Peanut fudge, custard, smoked malt, iodine, that’s it. Great! With water: once again, don’t add too much water. Isn’t Ardmore a bad swimmer, generally speaking? With only a few drops, it’s perfectly constructed, really all on some kind of smoked butterscotch. Someone will have to start a GoFundMe campaign one day and try to make that (no, please don’t). Finish: long, simple, focused, very good. Smoked cakes and… that’s right, butterscotch. Comments: excellent.
SGP:456 - 87 points.

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