Whisky legend Michiel Wigman has released two new bottlings. Well, three actually, but his cognac already sold out in pre-order. Luckily there’s still two great other options left from his second batch or the They Inspired II series. We’ll kick things off with an astonishing Ardmore 1988 that has aged fro 32 years. Next week we’ll get into his other release.
Ardmore is a bit of an odd duckling in the Scotch whisky world. It is one of the few Highland distilleries known for their peated output. And while their malt is only medium peated at 12-14 ppm (similar to Benromach), the whisky actually tastes much smokier than you’d maybe expect. But in a different way than what most whisky drinkers will be used to, as the distillery’s flavour profile is vastly different from known peated commodities such as Laphroaig or Caol Ila. The peat mostly comes through as wood smoke.
As of right now there is no visitor centre at Ardmore and I’ve never visited the distillery. But Michiel Wigman’s latest bottling really makes me want to find out more about Ardmore. I’ve always had a soft spot for this distillery (especially at 15-20 years old) and would love to get more in-depth information about their production. I’ll add it to the list and maybe I can interview someone in the near future. For now I’ll simply keep enjoying their whisky, starting with the Ardmore 1988 32 years, by far the oldest one I’ve tried so far.
Ardmore 1988 32 Years (48.6%, Michiel Wigman, 192 bts.)
Nose: It’s gentle and fresh with just a hint of soot and bandages, but mostly sweet fruits like nectarines, tinned pineapple and lemon. It has a lovely creamy quality with notes of banana custard and honey. Finally a touch of walnuts as well as some faint minerals. Taste: Great to see it’s still very much an Ardmore on the palate, but more soothing than the ones I’ve tried so far, which have been 20-years-old at the most. Gentle earthy peat smoke with a hint of thyme and touches of pineapple juice as well as cinnamon sprinkled apple parts. Just a pinch of black pepper and menthol as well. Rather fantastic. Finish: Somewhat herbal and surely more menthol and mint, with just a touch of wood smoke. Impressive.
At such an advanced age, the nose is barely recognizable as Ardmore. Many of the modern releases are not even a third of the age this one is. The palate is another story altogether, and resembles much more the late 1990s Ardmore I’m familiar with. This Ardmore 1988 from Michiel Wigman is a delight and a very refreshing change of pace. Available from Dutch Whisky Connection.