Ardmore original bottlings are not widely available in Malaysia. However, as distilleries in Scotland go, Ardmore has a fairly large production, with a maximum output of 5.4m litres of pure alcohol a year (about twice the amount of what Highland Park puts out). This is because most of the malt whisky produced goes into making the very successful Teacher’s Highland Cream.
This is a bit of a shame, as at 12-14 ppm, this beautiful old-fashioned Highland style whisky has a decent lick of peat that lends to its overall charm. The peat does tend to manifest itself more as woody smoke as opposed to an iodine Islay smoke. Fortunately, there are a fair few IB bottlings around and these are the ones occupying space in my whisky brain of late.
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Duncan Taylor Single Cask, Ardmore Peated 2009, 12 Year Old 54.9% & Wemyss Single Cask Release Ardmore 2008, 13 Year Old, Tuxedo Black 59%
These two are superb examples of classic Ardmores. Buttery pastry, roasted almonds and that signature woody smoke, both neatly wrapped in hefty cask strength. The Duncan Taylor version has a nice apple fruit angle to it while the Wemyss one has a nice malty-digestive-biscuit note. Both appealing in their own way.
Carn Mor Strictly Limited Ardmore 2013, 7 Year Old, Islay Cask
is an interesting little Ardmore. A young Ardmore which has matured in an Islay cask (most likely a Laphroaig). Bonfire, ashy smoke up front leading into a nice dry finish – the kind of dry finish that makes you want to take another sip, and another… .and then another.
Carn Mor Strictly Limited Ardmore 2009, 13 Year Old PX Sherry
Ardmore single malts are classically matured in ex-bourbon casks, which makes the Carn Mor Strictly Limited Ardmore 2009, 13 Year Old in PX Sherry fit snugly into the pigeon hole marked “Worth Trying”.
Duncan Taylor Octave Sherry, Culdrain 2011 11 Year Old, 53.8% abv
Ardmore has always been lightly peated but since the 2000s, they have started to make a small amount of unpeated malt, aka Ard-less (sorry couldn’t resist that pun, that is not an official name). In fact there is nothing ‘less’ about unpeated Ardmore.
The Duncan Taylor Octave Sherry, Culdrain 2011 11 Year Old– named after Culdrain, hamlet near the distillery– is an unpeated Ardmore that has been recasked into mini oloroso sherry octave casks, a specialty of Duncan Taylor. Salted caramel, Terry’s orange chocolate segments with a sprinkle of ground white pepper. There’s nothing “less” about this expression of Ardmore.