Ending our coverage with a trip to Ardmore and one of the oldest Society bottlings of the distillery for quite some years. This bottling was initially matured in ex-bourbon before being moved to a HTMC (high toast, medium char) hogshead.
Nose: Damp potting sheds and long burnt-out vegetal fires sit with boiled greens and bitumen road surfaces at 5 miles distance. It’s very Ardmore, but also very relaxed in focus. Kale and wet soils sit with prosciutto ham, whilst a little barnyard funk can be felt from hay lofts and sweaty farmhands. Reduction offers less expression overall, adding wellington boots, mud and clay.
Taste: The arrival focussed on sweet, lightly peated fruits with apples and pears held under a wispy cloche of applewood smoke. The development introduces salt and vinegar crisps and dried meats together with lamp oil and vanilla-filled buns. The addition of water again reduces the vibrancy, revealing cinnamon and cumin spices alongside crackerbread and lemon balm.
Finish: Medium and rather ‘herbal’ with hemp leaf and residue, gentle char.
There’s a lot of ‘green’ about this well-aged SMWS Ardmore – and that suits both its in-land profile and some of the well-developed nuances which have added to this expression during its near quarter of a century in cask. But, the bottling strength is the only point of balance for me – and adding water just served to diminish all aspects of what makes this an enjoyably gentle peater.