Lately I’ve been becoming a bigger and bigger Ardmore fan, I realize. I’ve always liked peated whisky but I often find, after years of trying shitloads of drams, that the more gently smoked whiskies offer greater depth and complexity and a properly aged Ardmore fits that category nicely.
What also helps to make it stand out is that it’s a different kind of peated-ness than Islay. A difference between inland peat, or coastal peat, so to say.
So, when I was at Whiskybase some months ago and I saw this one on the shelf, it stood out because of the label. Upon further inspection it turned out to be an Ardmore and a 21 year old at that. I didn’t have to decide for long until it ended up on the counter.
And now, about half a year later, it was time to finish the bottle. I’ve used it in a tasting and shared it with some friends in a more casual setting. High time to write a review and empty it, so to say!
A gentle smoke of hay and moss. Very green in it’s smokiness. There’s also heather and honey. Some apples and a whiff of chalky white wine.
A rich palate with hay and earthiness, heather, honey and pinecones. Forest floor, dried moss, some peat smoke. Barley and oak.
The finish is dry and sweet. Earthy with flavors of decay in all the right ways. Dead pine needles on a wet forest floor. Moss, heather, honey sweetness.
This is exactly what I hope to find in an Ardmore. A peated whisky without the seaweed, the salinity or the medicinal notes that are more common in Islay whiskies. Here it’s slightly more woody, mossy and heathery, and that’s great.
I love that the cask hasn’t been too influential on the whisky and the rather clean spirit of Ardmore still comes through nicely. A highlight!