Archive for the ‘Ardmore’ Category

Edition Spirits Ardmore 1996? (20 year old) 50.1%

Bourbon/ Code: EDI0202/ Dist: 1996? Btl: 2016?/ Tasted: Dec 2016

The nose is nutty and barley’d with sweet peat smoke, heather and sweet oak. Beautifully balanced with a touch of drier, dusty peat emerging.

The palate opens with the slightly toffee’d oak, citrus and barley. Hints of heather, sweet peat, earth and coffee come through on the middle. Lovely, mouth-watering barley’d finish with lingering citrus and sweet oak.


Hunter Laing Old Malt Cask Ardmore 1996 (20 year old) 50%

Refill Bourbon Hogshead/ Code: OMC2611/ HL12929

Dist: Oct 1996 Btl: Nov 2016/ Tasted: Dec 2016

A mature and dusty nose with peppery peat smoke and hints of petrol, manure and barley. Crisp and clean with a lovely, focused, citric intensity. Late warm vanilla notes appear.

The palate is a shade fuller, with more of the warm vanilla oak showing, but the smoke and peppery peat begins to emerge. Sweet, but astringent middle with citrus and petrol notes. Long, dry, mouth-watering finish with barley, white fruit, violets, dusty peat and minerals.

Hunter Laing Old Malt Cask Ardmore 1996 (21 year old) 50%

Refill Bourbon Hogshead/ Code: OMC2738/ Dist: Apr 1996 Btl: 2017/ Tasted: Dec 2017

There is a distinct ‘old skool’ Bowmore feel to this nose with duty, mature peat, violets and oily barley. Superb, balancing fresher barley notes appear along with some subtle oak.

The palate is quite oily and dusty with mature peat, violets and like the nose a subtle old Bowmore-like undertones. Hints of mature, sweet-ish barley, tar, citrus and earthy peat build pleasantly on the middle. Lovely citric finish with lingering peat, pepper, violets and truffle oil. Stunning progression!


North Star Spirits Ardmore 2008 (8 year old) 58.7%

Refill Barrel/ Dist: 2008 Btl: 2016/ Tasted: Nov 2016

A fresh, gristy and sooty nose with plenty of dry, gritty peat and smoked meat. Lightly herbal with subtle vanilla, citrus and charcoal. With time it becomes very rounded and very meaty.

The palate is full and rich with lightly oiled apricot, barley and hints of white fruit. Like the nose it is quite meaty on the middle with peat smoke and tar. Long and intense with the white fruits returning and mingling with dry barley, heathery peat and soot and the barbequed meat.

Ardmore Traditional 46%

Bourbon finished in quarter casks

Tasted: Dec 2013

Quite rich and dense aromas of smoked meat and dry peat with a light perfumed note and a touch of herbal barley sugar. The oak is seriously dense but it doesn’t add much in the way of vanillins, but it does add some weighty caramel, which does impact upon the freshness that one usual equates with this distillery.

Dense and weighty on the palate with herbal flecked, dry, meaty-peaty notes and a touch of sweet barley. Again the caramelised oak impacts on the freshness. Good length with a little citrus appearing and the herbal-peat notes lingering.

Ardmore Legacy 40%

Tasted: July 2016

A light and herbal nose with malt, sweet-ish barley, rye-like notes and a light peat note. With time it becomes quite oak dominated (plenty of first fill Bourbon?)

The palate is soft and straightforward with a touch of youthful spirit. Again fairly light in body with a touch of barley, honey, fragrant, earthy peat and vanilla oak. A little short with the oak clamping down. (I think the caramel is natural). Very lightly peated, almost imperceptibly so. Knowing how good the spirit can be this bottling is very disappointing.



Coopers Choice Ardmore No Age Statement ‘Heavily Peated’ 46%

Bourbon Cask 884/ Dist: ? Btl: 2015(?)/ Tasted: May 2016

I’m somewhat confused. Why bottle a single cask without an age statement? Yes, it’s young, probably no older than 5 or 6 years, but it has some lovely, slightly perfumed white fruit, unsweetened pineapple and banana with hints of coal dust and rubber.

The palate is a fairly watery and underpowered with hints of estery apricot, pineapple and banana. Very softly peated with hints of herbs and sweet barley. Long with lingering dry peat and spice. Someone has a funny definition of heavily peated!

Carn Mor Strictly Limited Ardmore 2011 (4 year old) 46%

Bourbon Hogshead/ Dist: 2011 Btl: 2016/ Tasted: Apr 2016

Young and oily aromas with a vivacious crispness, minerality and plenty of earthy peat. The peat becomes slightly medicinal with time and a light saltiness emerges. Quite weighty for a young malt with some lovely barley sweetness.

The palate is quite barley sweet with crisp, grassy, Sauvignon-esque white fruit, citrus, coal dust and peat smoke. Lovely vibrancy and balance. Long and peaty with a light medicinal/ saltiness on the finish.

Carn Mor Strictly Limited Ardmore 2011 (5 year old) 46%

Bourbon Barrel/ Dist: 2011 Btl: 2016/ Tasted: Sept 2016

Fresh, crisp but slightly gristy on the nose with white fruit, apricot, barley, earthy peat and very subtle peat.

The palate is pleasantly barley but not as evolved as previously bottling as there are some ‘off the still’ notes in the background. Gently spiced on the middle with a good, crisp and oily finish with the ‘off the still’ notes lingering.

James MacArthur Old Masters Ardmore 2000 (14 year old) 58.3%

Bourbon Cask 217/ Dist: 2000 Btl: 2014/ Tasted: Dec 2014

A lovely, sweetly peated nose with heather honey and gristy barley. It settles down to show a vivid herbal character, which reminds me of young, herbal rye. Hints of antiseptic and mint appears as the phenols kick in.

The palate is lightly oiled and gristy to begin with. The oils keep the peat in check to a certain extent and allows the off-sweet barley and fleshy apricot fruit to shine. Intensely alcoholic and a slightly bitter finish, but the barley and moist vanilla notes balance. Finally the sweet peat breaks free of the oils and rounds the palate off rather well.

Dilution emphasises the oils on the nose. Still fairly herbal with the sweet peat just accenting. On the palate it really emphasises the sugar coated barley. The peat is now just a distant, earthy note but it’s still quite herbal and some dusty spices and heather have appeared. Very long with a little a lovely dry and sweet peat finish.

Ian MacLeod’s Dun Bhegan Ardmore 1999 (12 year old) 53.5%

Chateau Palmer Finish/ Cask 91771/ Tasted: Sept 2012

The nose has quite a considerable amount of dry, dusty earthy-peat mingling with some straw-like raspberry and strawberry. Very heavy on the wine cask. 

The palate is soft-ish, alcohol aside! Very intense and full of straw and earthy peat. The alcohol is omnipresent and really dries out the middle but the wine finish adds a touch of red fruit, principally on the finish, but the alcohol really hinders any further development. 

With water the nose opens a bit and it shows a better balance as the wine notes are subtler now and some sweet barley and liquorice emerges, but the intensity of the peat isn’t diminished. The palate is fuller, thicker and juicier and like the nose shows a better balance. Still quite firm and woody with the tannins drying now rather than the alcohol. However the wine finish adds some ripe fruit sweetness which counter balances to a certain extent. Still it’s still a bit on the short side, but it’s still peated though!

Douglas McGibbon Provenance Ardmore 2003 (7 year old) 46%

Bourbon/ Code: PRV0690/ Dist: Sept 2003 Btl: Sept 2011/ Tasted: Sept 2011

As expected the nose is high toned and botanical, reeking of ‘off the still’ cereal along with a slightly damp/ wet leaves note. It’s a baby really! The palate pretty much follows the same course opening with some sweet cereal and a touch of nascent peat/ soot, but not much else. The finish is tart and alcoholic.

Douglas McGibbon Provenance Ardmore 2003 (9 year old) 46%

Bourbon/ Code: PRV0966/ Dist: Sept 2003 Btl: Feb 2013/ Tasted: Feb 2013

The nose opens with a lovely barley sweetness followed by some white fruit and charred woody-peat. Quite baked fruit in style with a touch of earth but a refreshing  citrus edge. 

Soft and biscuity with a hint of fudge to begin with on the palate. It opens to display a good depth of sweet-ish barley, white fruit, light earthy-peat, malt, ash and tar. Quite charming with a lingering soft peat and charred wood note.

Douglas McGibbon Provenance Ardmore ‘Young & Fiesty’ 46%

Bourbon/ Code: PRV1022/ Tasted: Sept 2013

A youthful, cereally and lightly oiled nose. It’s still wearing nappies! There’s hints of smoked meat and ashy peat along with a nascent slightly sweet barely note. 

The palate is young and cereally with a light barley and light, earthy-peat note. Dry and smoky middle. Good length with a light floral note and sweet barley amongst the slightly sweetened coal smoke. Surprisingly long with a very drying finish.

Gordon & MacPhail Ardmore 1985 (15 year old) 40%

Dist: 1985 Btl: 2000/ Tasted: Mar 2004

An oily, peaty, fruity nose, with some sherry notes. On the palate it is robust with plenty of heather, peat which turns slightly mentholated/ medicinal. Good bitter-sweet balance, intense and long.

Gordon & MacPhail Ardmore 1990 (14 year old) 43%

Dist: 1990 Btl: 2004/ Tasted: Aug 2006

A crisp and oily nose. Quite fruity with orange/ tangerine fruit, soft smoke and a touch of peat. There is a lovely crispness to the malt along with a suggestion of petrol. The palate is soft and slightly watery, but still displays an oily character. Hints of peat and alt come through on middle but there is a lack of underpinning oak and thus being watery it dies quickly.

Gordon & MacPhail Ardmore 1991 (16 year old) 43%

Bourbon/ Dist: 1991 Btl: 2007/ Tasted: Sept 2007

Crisp and fruity on the nose with butter and creamy vanilla, hints of smoke and peat. Straightforward, a touch spirity, more oak than character. Clean, slightly oily palate with simple, straightforward tangy citrus fruit. In conclusion it’s simple, good quality spirit, a bit bland with the oak dominating the nose. Average.

Gordon & Macphail Ardmore 1995 (17 year old) 43%

Refill Sherry/ Dist: 1995 Btl: 2012/ Tasted: May 2014

The nose is full and sweet with no shortage of refill sherry, dark malt and balsamic notes. Hints of sweet orange, white fruit, honey and dusty peat emerge. Quite fresh with some slightly astringent peat notes and iodine.

The palate opens with some sweet-ish toffee, barley and citrus. There is less sherry influence but it hangs around at the edges. Pleasantly developing citrus and lightly medicinal peat on the middle, but one feels the oak enclosing the spirit a little which does impact upon the complexity. However it has a lovely, dusty peat finish.

Gordon & Macphail Ardmore 1996 (16 year old) 43%

Sherry/ Dist: 1996 Btl: 2013/ Tasted: July 2014

The nose displays an obvious sherry influence (dry Oloroso?) –dried gape, raisin and sweet orange peel along with a pervasive, dry smokiness.

The palate opens with the sweet-ish dried fruit – date, raisin and walnut. Gently smoked, which is a little hidden by the sherry character, but that tart citrus note on the middle cleanses the palate pleasantly, allowing the crisp barley spirit and light smoke through. There is a lovely progression with a harmonious balance between the spirit character and the sherry cask. I have to say this is the best G&M bottling of Ardmore since the 1985, which was bottled in 2000.

Gordon & MacPhail Ardmore 1996 (16 year old) 43%

Sherry/ Dist: 1996 Btl: 2013/ Re-Tasted: Dec 2014

Nose: Quite hard and slightly peated aromas with hints of coffee, manure and sawdusty oak. The luscious honey adds a touch of sweetness, which balances the hardness.

Palate: Softer and more toffee’d with hints of coal dust and violets. Less complex than the nose.

Finish: Long and intense with the alcohol punching above its weight and making the finish quite mouth-watering. The peat has also become drier and dustier.

Conclusion: Pleasant enough, although I would have liked more complexity on the palate