Highlands Week got off to a great and terrifically fruity start on Monday with this Ben Nevis 23. It was also a timely start to the week and month, what with the cask having been bottled only in 2020. Today we go back almost a decade to a cask bottled almost a decade ago in 2012. This Ardmore 19 was one of several of similar age released at that time from the 1992 vintage. I’ve previously reviewed a 20 yo released by Whiskybase under their Archives label and another 20 yo released by the Whisky Agency (are they still around? I don’t think I’ve seen anything released by them in quite some time). Those ran the gamut from very good indeed to excellent. Both the Archives and the Whisky Agency cask were very fruity and so I am hoping that this one will not belie the hope I expressed on Monday that this would turn out to be not only Highlands Week but also Fruity Whisky Week. Let’s see how it goes.
Ardmore 19, 1992 (49.6%; Whisky Doris; bourbon barrel 4652; from my own bottle)
Nose: Honey, lemon and a big vein of mineral peat running through them. On the second sniff there’s a fair bit of musky fruit (peach, ripe pineapple, just a hint of passionfruit). The lemon expands with time (and picks up a bit of chalk) but the sweeter fruit keeps pace (the passionfruit grows from a hint to well past a suggestion). With time the peat recedes here as well. A little sweeter with a couple of drops of water; a bit of a custardy note emerges.
Palate: Comes in as more or less as promised by the nose but the fruit expands dramatically as I swallow. Perfect drinking strength and nice texture. The fruit is joined by some oaky bite and some pepper on subsequent sips and it’s the peat that diminishes (now down to an undercurrent). More pepper with water but otherwise pretty much as before.
Finish: Long. The fruit just keeps building and going and going, picking up pepper as it goes. With time the peat emerges again at the very end (mineral rather than phenolic). As on the palate with water.
Comments: This is a lovely bourbon cask whisky. The mix of light mineral peat and musky fruit is one that’s usually found elsewhere only in bourbon cask Bowmore. I love it there and I love it here. I wish I’d bought more Ardmore from this period when it was available at prices that now seem like a steal. The one possible knock against this is a lack of development but when it’s so good from the get-go that doesn’t feel like a problem. I look forward to seeing how this changes over the life of the bottle. Okay, Fruity Whisky Week is on. I have a feeling Friday’s entry will not let me down on that front…
Rating: 90 points.