Ardmore week got off to a very shaky start with Monday’s 6 year old Ardlair (unpeated Ardmore). I am hoping that today’s regulation peated Ardmore will reset the week despite being only four years older. This one was bottled a couple of years ago by Single Cask Nation from a single first-fill bourbon hogshead. I maintain this optimism even though the last Ardmore of this general age I reviewed didn’t set my hair on fire. What can I say? I’m an optimistic guy. Okay, let’s get to it.
Ardmore 10, 2009 (58.8%; Single Cask Nation; first-fill bourbon hogshead 707927; from a bottle split)
Nose: Mild mineral peat with lemon, wax, wet wool and some sweeter notes of vanilla. The lemon begins to turn to citronella pretty quickly and some paraffin emerges as well. The peat picks up with more time and it becomes quite briny as well. With more time and air it gets quite creamy. A few drops of water and the acid is amplified again with some chalk in there as well; after a few beats a more savoury note emerges as well (ham brine).
Palate: Peatier arrival here with some wet charcoal mixed in with hot stones and then quite a bit of lemon and tart-sweet apple as I swallow. Hot but not unapproachable at full strength and a nice mouth-coating texture. Gets sweeter as it goes and the lemon turns to lime with some zest mixed in. Okay, let’s add some water. Ah yes, water integrates everything beautifully pulling out some of that ham brine here as well along with more vanilla.
Finish: Long. The peat expands here (quite ashy now) and the lemon flexes along with it; salty at the end. As on the palate with water.
Comments: Just an excellent cask and evidence of just how good contemporary Ardmore can be—especially from bourbon casks. Is this the most underrated distillery in Scotland? Might be. I don’t know how much this bottle went for but I wish I had one.
Rating: 90 points.