Ardmore, as you probably know, is one of the few distilleries in the Speyside known for peated malt—though it is rarely smoky to the extent of the peated Islays and others of that ilk. There’s not a lot of Ardmore available, either officially or from the indies, and so I’m always on the lookout for any new bottles. I don’t really know who Gordon & Company are; until I came across some of their bottles on Whiskybase a few months ago I had never heard of them or their “Pearls of Scotland” line which includes this Ardmore. If you know who they are or if they have any relationship to Gordon & Macphail please let me know via the comments.
Anyway, as I like Ardmore a lot, and as I’ve never had an Ardmore of this age before, I was very interested but didn’t want to commit to a full bottle until I’d tried a sample. Of course, after purchasing the samples I completely forgot about them and so am very pleased to discover that this is still in stock at Whiskybase. Of course, if I like it a lot I won’t post the review till I’ve secured a bottle for myself. You’re welcome!
Ardmore 25, 1988 (45%; cask 2455; from a purchased sample)
Nose: Peppery, minerally smoke with a bit of vanilla and oaky sweetness. Some fruit lurking beneath all that–a bit of lime but also something sweeter (some sort of berry). With more time the lime really expands with the acid balanced by zesty bitterness and that pepper. Water makes the citrus muskier and waxier and mixes in some paraffin. There’s some cream too now—almost like a lime curd.
Palate: As on the nose, with a peppery, minerally quality to start transitioning into the lime and then sweeter notes of vanilla and cream. Very nice oily mouthfeel. The lime gets more zesty/bitter as it sits. Unlike on the nose, with water the lime gets more acidic on the palate. The other notes get a little washed out though and the mouthfeel suffers.
Finish: Medium. The lime expands into the finish and then eases into oak (not tannic). Water extends the finish—mostly the bright lime at first and then the zest returns.
Comments: Not the most complex 25 yo whisky but very well-integrated and balanced; and quite old-school in its relatively austere palette of flavours. I liked the development on the nose with water but felt the palate suffered—but maybe I added a drop too many. I’m tempted, if only because this is not such a common profile anymore, but I can’t quite decide if I want a full bottle.
Rating: 86 points.