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September 3, 2014


Ardmore, two boneshakers
and a gentle one

Slowly but surely, Ardmore is gathering more and more aficionados. Maybe partly because of the brand’s quietness, while some Islayers are becoming really, really loud these days. Deafening? You said it.

Ardmore 12 yo 1986/1999 'Centenary' (40%, OB)

Ardmore 12 yo 1986/1999 'Centenary' (40%, OB) Three stars Of course it's not the first time that I try this baby, but it's the first time I'm writing (hopefully) proper tasting notes for it. I had it at WF 82. Colour: gold. Nose: a rather curious nose, quite modal I’d say (in Miles’ sense of the word.) Imagine a blend of wet cardboard, ashes, old turpentine and overripe apples and bananas, then add a glass of old vin jaune and a few crushed walnuts. In other words, it noses pretty antique. A little smoked ham too – by the way the smoke keeps growing but this baby never becomes ‘a peat monster’. Mouth: the nose was quite superb, but the palate’s a little wobbly, maybe because of the low strength. You know, it’s one of these ‘powerful’ drams that are lacking a backbone, in a way. That makes the cardboardy side stand out, and gives a slight feeling of smoked water. Or peppered lapsang souchong tea. I’d have loved to be able to try this batch at 46 or even 50% vol. Finish: not that short, but rather bitter. Cardboard again. Comments: a strange one. Again, the nose as quite superb, but the palate wasn’t up to the distillery’s current standards in my opinion. Because Ardmore’s great! SGP:453 - 80 points.

Ardmore 14 yo 2000/2014 (49.8%, The Whisky Agency, Liquid Library, refill hogshead, 289 bottles)

Ardmore 14 yo 2000/2014 (49.8%, The Whisky Agency, Liquid Library, refill hogshead, 289 bottles) Three stars and a half Colour: pale white wine. Nose: it’s a sharper, much cleaner, much more Islayian Ardmore after the old 12. There are touches of pineapples and pears, signs of youth, but other than that a mineral and ashy peat reigns supreme. There are also leaves, grass, tree bark and there, walnuts again (fresher ones this time.) You may add one peach. Oh and one drop of gentian eau-de-vie. And a dash of black pepper. And a little chalk or clay. Plaster? Mouth: very punchy, sharp, narrow, ashy, acrid, leafy, smoky, bitter… So it’s all very austere, probably not a whisky to pour your beginning friends. A lot of soot, ashes indeed, grass… And pepper. Finish: long and even more austere. Green pepper. Comments: I like Jansenist a lot, and this is a great one, but to me it’s a tad too… monastic? SGP:366 - 84 points.

Ardmore 2000/2014 (50.2%, Svenska Eldvatten, refill bourbon, 180 bottles)

Ardmore 2000/2014 (50.2%, Svenska Eldvatten, refill bourbon, 180 bottles) Four stars Colour: pale white wine. Nose: a rounder and sweeter version this time, with a little more candy sugar, honey and custard at first nosing, which gives it an interesting ‘Lagavulin 12 CS’ feeling. More earth and gentian as well, green apples, an ashy smokiness, some touches of seaweed smoke (and mezcal?) and whiffs of bandages or embrocations. Tiger balm? Mouth: bang! Huge peat on a sweeter bed – when compared to the previous 2000. It’s still a bit acrid and bitter, or even pungent, and it’s certainly a dry whisky, but there’s a fruitiness that sustains it. Sweets and jellybeans plus a little vanilla-ed honey. A touch of cinnamon cake. Finish: long, with more pepper this time again. A pleasant zestiness too, leaves… Comments: I’m afraid I forgot to add water. I guess it didn’t need it. Certainly one of the peatiest Ardmores I could taste – and quite a boneshaker. SGP:457 - 87 points.

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



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