Ardmore 22, 1997 (SMWS 66.174)

And here to close out Ardmore 1997 week is a 22 yo. Will it be closer to Monday’s 20 yo whose combination of fruit and smoke I really, really liked or to Wednesday’s 21 yo whose more austere charms I only really liked? I’ll find out soon. Oh yes, the SMWS’s panel named this one “A Vintage Dinner Suit” which probably means something.

Ardmore 22, 1997 (56.1%; SMWS 66.174; refill bourbon hogshead; from a bottle split)

Nose: A big zesty hit of lime off the top, a lime that has been charred heavily. The lime is sweeter on the second sniff and then muskier fruit begins to emerge (pineapple, a hint of passionfruit). The char burns off and now there’s more of a mineral note; the lime turns to citronella. As it sits the char begins to come back though it’s more ashy now; some cream too. Water emphasizes the fruit and the cream—really very nice now.

Palate: Comes in as on the nose with some wet stones/limestone mixed in along with some white pepper. A bit hot but approachable at full strength. The fruit is not quite as musky here but the char is quite pronounced. Gets ashier as it goes. Let’s see if water brings more of the fruit out. Well, it does but only a little—still, I like it more here now.

Finish: Long. The pepper expands and it tingles as it slowly fades out. Ashier here too with time. More fruit here too with water and less char.

Comments: From the first couple of sniffs I thought this was going to be at least as good as Monday’s 20 yo. But though water improved things, it never really got there on the palate. Lovely nose from beginning to end. But all of this is nitpicking: this is a very good whisky that I would never turn down multiple pours of.

Rating: 87 points.



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