Another interesting wood selection this month with this 7 year old Ardmore – 5 years in an American oak ex-oloroso sherry butt, 2 more years in a European oak ex-oloroso sherry butt. I like transcontinental butts.
Nose: Baristas and barbeques. Coffee beans and coffee grounds with dark chocolate shavings, raisins, air-dried meats and BBQ’d meats. Putty and wet soils sit with natural gas and smouldering wet leaves. Stagnant ponds and industrial grease are joined by bitumen and maple-smoked bacon. The addition of water reveals soot and ashiness – burning logs, flaming hay bales – alongside balsamic sharpness and reduced, jammy red berries.
Taste: No messing. Huge billowing ashiness and sweet tar. More coffee – freshly made espresso – with felt roofing, water-logged felled trees, forest moss and burning plant matter. Shingle and limestone run throughout adding a mineral tang, alongside ginger and cinnamon spiced pastries. Reduction expresses the sweetness of the butts – brown sugars, jammy fruits and overt smoked sherry.
Finish: Long, tarry, ashy and still packed full of juicy berry sweetness.
What this Ardmore loses in subtlety it makes up for with sheer power and density of flavour. Layers of richness and intense sherry flavours, which mingle highly successfully with a particularly smoky highland distillate (most 66’s rightly fall into the lightly peated category – this rightly does not, there's a bit more oompth). Sometimes there are simply joys to be found in silly whiskies and, I cannot lie - this most certainly is a silly whisky. Joint pick of the month.