Despite being largely out of action on the SMWS reviews over the past 12 months, I’ve returned to the familiar and always welcoming sight of distillery 66. This one is a youngster at a mere 7 years of age. It has spent its life in a 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel.
Nose: Brass piping and machine oils – yes, this could be a lamp of sorts. Slate tiles and felt roofing join wet hay and touches of barnyard funk whilst custard cream biscuits and whipped cream add sweetness. Smoke is most certainly highlight – forest-y and damply vegetal. Dilution provides metholated oak together with tanned leather hides and farm steading hay lofts.
Taste: Sharp, salty and sweet at the same time. Salted caramel, seashells and rock pools alongside tobacco pouches, felt roofing and pig sties. Salted beef and herb-crusted ham join crystalline ginger, white pepper and a scattering of leafy notes from ferns and bracken. Reduction amps up the peat with damp vegetal smoke enveloping all, together with wet wool and water-logged fabrics.
Finish: Quite long and favouring toasted cereals alongside diminishing minerality.
Not quite as explosively potent as the official outturn notes suggest – but nevertheless all the expected Ardmore cues are present and correct. Certainly likable, but not necessarily lovable.