Let’s stick with peat for the last whisky review of the month. Only a bit of peat though. This is a 21 yo Ardmore bottled by Whisky Doris half a decade or so ago from a bourbon hogshead. The last Whisky Doris Ardmore I reviewed was also from a bourbon cask—albeit, a barrel—and was pretty damned good. It didn’t have a striking label like this one though. Well, let’s hope the label design is not the most notable thing about this Ardmore and that I like it more than the 24 yo bourbon cask bottled by Whisky Sponge, which was also distilled in 1997.
Ardmore 21, 1997 (49.4%; Whisky Doris; bourbon hogshead; from my own bottle)
Nose: Lime, mineral peat, paraffin and whiffs of muskier fruit which expand with each sniff. Some candle wax too with time. The musky fruit (pineapple, a bit of peach) merges with the lime and also with emerging vanilla and cream. A bit of water and the peat gets pushed back a fair bit.
Palate: Comes in with the mineral peat in the lead and the lime and coal smoke following. The sweeter fruit expands rapidly as I swallow. A perfect drinking strength with oily texture. More of the peat with every sip and the cream starts to emerge earlier: think custard made with charred pineapple. Okay, let’s add a bit of water. Water doesn’t knock the peat out here but it does emphasize the fruit: sweet lime, in particular.
Finish: Long. The coal smoke crests and as it subsides the sweeter notes take over—more of the vanilla and cream from the nose here. Pepper at the end. As on the palate with water at first but then the coal smoke comes back at the end.
Comments: This is quintessential bourbon cask Ardmore. There’s nothing quite like it and I wish the distillery and independent bottlers would give us more of it. And yes, I liked it more than the WhiskySponge 24 yo bourbon cask. Now, if I could only find some charred pineapple custard…
Rating: 89 points.