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

July 6, 2019





Angus's Corner
From our casual Scottish correspondent
and guest taster Angus MacRaild
Because, as we all know, the paronomasia is the supreme form of humour. Ok, ok, I’m very sorry.


There seems to be quite a lot of Ardmore about these days, including some with a bit of age to them. You’ll not hear me complain about that. But it’s interesting how, even today, it remains a malt that no one really knows what to do with. Despite often being very good, it never garnered much of a following. Even among the geekier malt circles where people often discuss how much they like Ardmore and how it’s funny it never got more popular. As long as it keeps these various new bottlings at a sensible and ‘drinkable’ price, and as long as the distillery and its very lovely people continue to make an excellent distillate then that’s all fine by me. Let’s have four of them today and go backwards by vintage as usual.



Ardmore 20 yo 1998/2019 (55.8%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society,  #66.143 ‘Steam trains and puffers’, refill hogshead, 237 bottles)

Ardmore 20 yo 1998/2019 (55.8%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society,  #66.143 ‘Steam trains and puffers’, refill hogshead, 237 bottles)
The SMWS seems to have quite a hefty stock of Ardmore these days. Something I’m sure the more ‘keyboard centric’ elements of the membership will be only too happy to complain about... Colour: white wine. Nose: this very familiar lemony sootiness that characterises many Ardmores. Lots of bandages, clay, fermenting hay, chalk, aspirin, pebbles and light medical embrocations. Some kind of yeasty peat underneath as well. Very good! With water: more directly towards cereals, plain toast, salty butter and hints of bouillon and mushroom now. Some dried herbs and sandalwood. Mouth: smoked olive oil, lemon rind, some rather fat cereal notes, sunflower oil, mirabelle eau de vie and bitter marmalade. Also caraway, fennel seed, paprika, white pepper and hessian. Always this soft, pervasive phenolic aspect as well. And still rather chalky and medical with this crushed aspirin edge. I really like this style. With water: perfect balance between farmy qualities, medicine, mineral smokiness and citrus/soot now. Lots of interlocking flavours and a slightly meaty texture as well. Finish: long, medical, sooty, lemony, yeasty, mineral and with this nice flinty smoke and phenolic edge. Comments: Ardmore, when it’s on form, can be really characterful malt whisky - one of the few real ‘individuals’ left in Speyside. This is certainly a good example of that. Classy, mature and very pleasurable malt whisky. I was toying with 90 but we’ll err on the side of caution.
SGP: 463 - 89 points.



Ardmore 21 yo 1997/2019 (51.9%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #66.146 ‘Sensational sweet smoky noble rot’, refill hogshead, 244 bottles)

Ardmore 21 yo 1997/2019 (51.9%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #66.146 ‘Sensational sweet smoky noble rot’, refill hogshead, 244 bottles)
Colour: straw. Nose: indeed, this one is more honeyed and sweet than the 98. After reading the title it’s hard not to thing of things like botrytis and some young sauternes. This Ardmore sootiness is still present in the background though, along with limoncello, gin and tonic sorbet, sweet cereal bars, golden syrup, caramelised oatmeal and glazed pastries. Some candid citrus peel as well. With water: pine cones, some watermelon, more honey and starting to develop more towards this classical chalky and aspirin-flecked medicinal side. Mouth: more directly sooty at first, salted mead, runny honey, ointments, camphor, creme brulée, sweet children’s medicine, hessian, waxes and mint tea. Some diluted pastis and hints of old herbal liqueurs. With water: drier, more on coal dust, smoky cereals, soot, ointments, bitter herbal extracts, salted peanuts and lime pith. Very good! Finish: long, syrupy, oily, sweet, lots of cereals, mead and light medical and phenolic notes. Comments: It’s a sweeter side of Ardmore but we’re still up at the same levels of quality and quaffability. I really think these Ardmores are great and overlooked whiskies.
SGP: 662 - 89 points.



Ardmore 21 yo 1979/2001 (50%, Douglas Laing Old Malt Cask, 648 bottles)

Ardmore 21 yo 1979/2001 (50%, Douglas Laing Old Malt Cask, 648 bottles)
Colour: pale white wine. Nose: one thing that tends to be notable with Ardmore is that, unlike many distilleries, the distillate didn’t change too much between the 1970s and 2000s. How much of that is down to it’s late use of direct firing I couldn’t say. This one is not too far away from the 1998 with this very sooty, medical, cereal profile. Only this is slightly more direct, citrusy and austere with a more punchy and lean mineral edge. We’re more on waxes, hessian, mineral oils, clay and old workshops. I find it very good. With water: preserved lemons, smoked cornflakes, white flowers, wax, chalk, linseed oil. Top notch distillate and great purity. Mouth: camphor, hessian, olive oil, sooty phenolics, dusty malt bins, aspirin, pure old medicines and ointments. Even a touch of brine. Wonderful stuff. With water: citrus pith and smoked cereals with more of these soft medical embrocations encroaching. Really wonderful now. Sardines in olive oil, more camphor, hessian and chalky minerals. Finish: long, waxy, lemony, salty honey, mead, cooking oils and some sweet peat. Comments: A wee gem of an Ardmore. There’s more than a touch of the ‘Brora’ about this one...
SGP: 563 - 90 points.



Ardmore 20 yo 1968/1989 (58.4%, Dun Eideann, casks #5490 + 5491)

Ardmore 20 yo 1968/1989 (58.4%, Dun Eideann, casks #5490 + 5491)
An older bottle with an already hefty reputation... Colour: gold. Nose: ooft! This Ardmore sooty / lemony profile is there but it’s draped in a stunningly dense syrup of waxes, herbal liqueurs, precious hardwood resins, cough mixtures, medicines, umami cooking stocks and some kind of smoky truffle honey. Goes on with creme de menthe, cupboard spices, treacle and a waxiness that has an almost fudge-like consistency. You could stand a spoon in the glass I expect. With water: gets fresher with these notes of lemon, fabric, cereal, straw, earth, mushroom, wet leaves, tobacco, pine cones and petrichor. Mouth: just brilliant! Pure, old school, majestic, textural malt whisky. Mineral oils, waxes, hessian, camphor, soot, phenols, lemon rind, tar extract, herbal medicines, fennel seeds, mint tea, orange marmalade. Thrilling and deadly whisky! With water: the kind of whisky that only seems to get more textured and fat and swollen with water. Gloopy mineral oils, mechanical notes, thick phenolics, soot, hardwood resins, herbal extracts and wee hints of old sweet dessert wines. Finish: long, earthy, tarry, sooty, medical, peaty and with this big salty honey note throughout. Utterly brilliant. Comments: This really harkens back to the kind of peat and herbal profiles you could find in many pre-war malt whiskies. A stellar wee Ardmore that almost tastes like some kind of baffling old school 1950s Laphroaig, and yet, always remains its own thing. What a whisky!
SGP: 575 - 93 points.



Big thanks to KC and Dirk!




More tasting notesCheck the index of all Ardmore we've tasted so far







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