SMWS seems to have a near endless supply of Ardmore these days – I’m not complaining, it’s usually rather tasty. This one was matured for 11 years in an ex-bourbon hogshead before being moved to 2nd fill hogshead with a heavy toast and medium char for a final year of maturation. Peated profile.
Nose: Roasted leg of ham is sweetened with a glaze of sticky BBQ sauce – semi-sweet, semi tart and with plenty of white wine vinegar. Smoke is never far behind – wispy, inland and reminiscent of camping and woodland fires. Sweetness tempered the heathery smoke through orange peels and spit-roasted pineapple segments. The addition of water brings out a very pronounced aroma of chestnut puree as well as malt loaf and a slight oakiness.
Taste: Meats with fruits – rather like a Moroccan tagine. Ham hock, burnt beef ends and reduced pan sugars sit neatly with red berries, orange segments and tart gooseberries. Smoking is quite light to my palate – a mossy forest fire – damp and smouldering with wet fallen leaves. In the mid and back-palate, burnt toast and spent coffee grounds. Reduction added liquorice, malty oats and barley water.
Finish: Very long, ashy and packed full of sweet charred cuts of meats.
A particularly meaty Ardmore with plenty of palate development and a restrained sense of smoke that fits well with the overall profile of the whisky. Beefy stuff.