One of the brightest stars among the firmament of new bottlers that have popped up the last couple of years must be Michiel Wigman. He’s world famous in The Netherlands and some countries around it for having one of the most awesome stands at whisky festivals, massive knowledge about whisky and an impressive knack for loving Springbank.
Since early 2020 he’s been releasing his own bottlings, and so far I’ve loved all of them. Last year’s ‘They Inspired’ was themed around political leaders and it seems this year’s theme is going to be either Jazz musicians, or musicians in general.
Anyway, in the first batch of 2021 we find this 32 year old Ardmore. The age isn’t ‘stated’ but calculated on Whiskybase which makes this an educated guess, but together with another recent release by The Nectar of the Daily Drams, this is one of the two oldest Ardmores ever to be released!
It’s very gentle, more like a caress than an oomph. The smoke is not overly powerful, but what is that is quite heavy. Not a light smokiness, but a gentle one at that too. It’s very highland like with hints of heather, oak, hay and grass. A hint of honey adds itself to the nose. The ‘lightness’ is because of great and long aging.
The palate is, as expected, as gentle as the nose. A combination of old age and an almost Lowlands like style. Gentle oak, tamed peat represent the age, while hay, heather and a note of dried wildflowers bring a bit of a Lowlands style. Added to that are hints of apple and pear skins, old lime and just a touch of black pepper.
The finish continues in a similar vein. There’s a touch of vanilla that wasn’t there before, and the pepper lingers here too.
Because I never had Ardmore this old, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. However, compared to many other peated whiskies, it turns out old Ardmore becomes very, very gentle. Due to that I had to recalibrate a little bit since my expectations were wrong, and that took a sip or two.
I realized a long time ago that age and maturity are not the same thing, and this one proves that again. I would have believed if someone told me this was 40 years old. It’s incredibly smooth and gentle, although I wouldn’t recommend trying this at a festival, or after more than one other whisky.
If you give this whisky the respect and attention it deserves, you’re rewarded with layers of gentle flavors that are typical of the distillery. Even after 32 years the spirit of Ardmore isn’t completely replaced by wood influences, and that is a good thing. All in all, this is a great whisky.
Apart from the price tag, this is also my ‘issue’ with this whisky, if you can call it that. It’s feels a tad fragile and if you do not give it the love and respect it deserves, it doesn’t draw your attention. It’s a whisky to analyze, and not just to drink.
As you might expect, the drawback is that great whisky at a great age comes at a significant price tag. This one is available for pre-ordering at Dutch Whisky Connection for € 480.
Sample provided by Michiel Wigman. Thanks a million, gorgeous stuff!