Finally back from my annual holiday and now off to the Highlands of Scotland for my next review. This time I am off to Ardmore, which means ‘big headland’ in Gaelic. They are located at the edge of the Grampian mountains and they were founded in 1898 Adam Teacher.
Region: Highland, Scotland
Style: Single Malt
As stated earlier, Ardmore was founded in 1898, during one of the industry booms that occurred at the end of the 19th century. The Ardmore whisky distillery still has its own cooperage for the production and repair of casks. They are, apparently, now the only Highland distillery that insists on fully peating their standard malt. Most put the PPM at between 12 and 14. Most of the whisky the distillery produces is still reserved for the Teacher’s blends.
The ‘Traditional Cask’ is double fermented, first in the usual oak casks but then for a second time in much smaller hand crafted “Quarter Casks”. These smaller casks were fairly common a hundred years ago but have been largely ignored due to their high cost of construction. This intense secondary maturation gives the deeper flavour that their whisky is known for.
Colour: Bright deep gold with medium to thick legs.
Nose: Seaside character of salt and seaweed, but not overtly so. There is also a vanilla and cream sweet spiciness about it. Clean and fresh with a herbal and baked sweet pie/bread character. Some of that lovely peaty smokiness is around in the background always, but not in an overt or overpowering manner.
Palate: after an initial hot and ginger spicy burst on your tongue it tapers off to some sweet wood spice, creamy vanilla sweetness and a lovely gentle peaty smokiness that coats your tongue and mouth. Like the nose, the palate is clean and fresh, with a lovely mix between the smoke and sweet characters.
Finish: Medium and warm with subdued lingering spiciness and soft smokiness with sweetish end.
Overall: If you are used to typical Islay peated malts, then this is an interesting variation to try. It has the smokiness that would expect from a peated malt, but it is a gentle and background smoke that intermingles quite nicely with the sweet characters.
My Score: 82