Let us take a break from Ledaig and on this day, the 4th of July, review an Ardmore. Ardmore, as you know, is what the Founding Fathers drank as they signed the Declaration of Independence. It’s a fact.
This Ardmore, from a bourbon barrel, was bottled by the Whisky Agency for the Auld Alliance, a famous whisky bar in Singapore. The last time I was in Singapore I was not yet sufficiently crazy about whisky to be seeking out whisky bars, but if I make it back I certainly will try to go. This is as close as I get for now.
(Please appreciate the lettuce from my garden that forms the backdrop for the highly essential photograph of the sample bottle.)
Ardmore 20, 1992 (51.3%; Whisky Agency; from a sample received in a swap)
Nose: Soft fruity aromas (apple) at first along with some cream and butter pastry. Then some polished wood and some dried orange peel and apricot. The peat is very mild, more peppery than smoky. A lot of beeswax too and some honey and toffee to go with it. Wonderfully elegant. With more time some smoke begins to emerge but it’s very mild and the final effect is of old polished leather rather than smoke per se. Some strawberries and cream too. After ten minutes or so the peat becomes most apparent, and it’s minerally and peppery. With a lot more time the citrus has turned to lemon and rather a lot of it. Water turns the lemon to citronella and brings the cream back up on top.
Palate: That peppery, minerally peat strikes first on the palate and then there’s a lovely wave of sweet fruit: berries and then the orange peel and some tinned peach and then a turn to more floral and tropical notes (papaya, a touch of tart-sweet mango). The mouthfeel is just a little thinner than I would have liked. With more time there’s more lemon here too. Okay, let’s add a drop of water. With water it’s even more peppery; still a lot of lemon but the sweeter and muskier fruity notes don’t expand as I’d hoped they would. A slightly soapy note emerges, unfortunately.
Finish: Medium-long. As the fruit washes out the peppery peat remains and there’s more wood spice too. Not too much change with water.
Comments: Lovely, lovely nose. The palate was almost up to that level but there wasn’t quite as much development (with or without water), and the texture was just a little too thin. And with not very much happening on the finish it didn’t leave the strongest impression at the end. Still, it’s very good and reminded me of this 18 yo, 1977 from Cadenhead’s.
Rating: 88 points.
Thanks to gimmeadram for the sample!