Do we love Ardmore? Yes, we do.
Why, I hear you ask? Because its good whisky young, its good old. Its peaty and smoky and savoury and buttery and fishy and fruity and everything else you could want from a peaty highlander. Yes, I’m a little biased because I own a barrel of the stuff…
Anywho, these are two expressions that I tried recently, both independent bottlings and both slightly older bottlings. Both pretty expensive but both very good.
What is interesting with the comparison between these two is that the 1996 would have been distilled using direct fired stills, while the 2002 is from steam heated stills (Ardmore converted in 2001).
Ardmore 1996 Berry Bros & Rudd 60.1%
Colour: Light Gold
Nose: Quite a clean nose, spring onion, caramelised green apple, light smoke wisps, heather, dark chocolate. Darker as it opens up actually with plum sauce and roast duck joining the spring onions. Literally, I could be sitting in a Chinese takeaway waiting for my food!
Water: More savoury and smoky, more green apple.
Taste: Clean arrival, lemon and lime, green apple, that savoury spring onion note again, lovely heather-y spice, burnt heather, a little burnt wood. Great mouthfeel.
Water: Much softer start, green apple, more dry oak and less of the savoury notes. Brighter and fresher.
Finish: More smoke here. Mineral, lemon peel, oily and then dry at the end.
Exclusive for the Old & Rare Show 2018. Love the nose on this, very unique. Preferred it neat.
Ardmore 2002 Hidden Spirits 52.7%
Colour: Light Gold
Nose: Buttered kippers! Delicious and unique, battered whitebait, fishy to say the least, clean spirit and a little meaty too. Again, Ardmore showing off its insane complexity and unique spirit.
Taste: Clean arrival, soft oils, dry, wood then smoke and peat, salty and malty, builds with plenty of power, a charred BBQ meat note.
Finish: Long length. Amazing here, very oily and viscous, dark malt, some chocolate and ginger.
Bottled 2019 at 17yo. Mid-palate is a tad clean for my tastes, but the nose and finish are stunning. Another awesome whisky from Andrea! Hidden Spirits has, quite rightly, been thrust into the limelight at the moment because Serge of Whiskyfun gave the 26yo Clynelish a huge score but they select some great stuff.
Thanks for reading!
Scotch Reviews #801-#802
Whisky Network Reviews #953-#954
Network Average: 75.1
Best Score: 94
Worst Score: 12
60-64 Just About OK
65-69 Ok to Good
75-79 Very Good
Full Disclosure Disclaimer: I currently work as the Global Brand Ambassador for Penderyn Distillery. The views expressed here are purely my own and do not reflect the views of Penderyn Distillery or The Welsh Whisky Company. I try to maintain as much objectivity as I can but feel free to take my reviews with as big a pinch of salt as you like. Furthermore, my rating scale is NOT based on a Parker type wine scoring scale or a school/college/university % or A-F grade score. You can find more on my scoring here. I apologise for any seemly low or 'bad' scores given with my system and I am sorry I can't say only nice things. Please keep in mind that I am ethically compromised and I am unable to produce 100% unbiased reviews.