Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Whiskey Wednesday: Ardmore

A lightly peated Highland whisky, Ardmore is an old but little known single malt. For years almost all of its stock went into blends, predominantly Teacher's, a blend popular in the UK but less known in the US. All of that changed when Jim Beam's parent company, Beam Global/Fortune Brands, purchased Ardmore in 2005 along with Laphroaig.

Beam decided it would finally market Ardmore as a single malt. The first bottling came to US retailers only a few months ago but is now widely available, and knowing Beam, you should expect to see more.

First a few production notes. This Ardmore has no age statement. The text on the bottle tube notes that it is matured first in traditional oak barrels and then transferred to smaller, quarter casks. Quarter casks are, essentially, a way to make young whiskey taste older by increasing its exposure to oak. The fact that it's quarter cask matured along with the lack of an age statement indicates that there are likely some very young whiskies in this bottle. Please note that this isn't necessarily a bad thing, just an observation.

Also, given that it explicitly says it's non-chill filtered, but doesn't mention coloring, I'm guessing that caramel color is added. If a distillery were going to brag about its malt being non-chill filtered, it would likely brag about not having added color as well, if it could.


Ardmore, Peated, non-chill filtered 46% alcohol ($33.95).

Nice, light nose, fruit and peat. Very good flavor follow-up on the aroma. Smooth, definite peat along with some nice fruit and sweetness; in the end, sweetness wins out over peat. This is a highly drinkable whiskey, similar in character to the BenRiach Curiositas but with less peat and overall better balance.

This is a promising first bottle for a new malt on our shelves. I look forward to what the future holds at Ardmore.

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