Just days after I concluded that my whisky collection was missing some decent Ardmore, the WhiskyNerds announced their upcoming release. You guessed it. Missing out on a quarter century of maturation by just over a week, I have really high hopes for this Ardmore 1997 24 Years.
I’ve always had a soft spot for Ardmore. It’s one of those distilleries with a distinct own style, but somehow it remains utterly underappreciated. The peatiness is decidely singular and is usually balanced by gentle fruits. It’s a heavy, weighty whisky that could sometimes use a little polish, but its ruggedness is also what makes it such an attractive whisky.
Yet, even knowing all this, I only had one open bottle of Ardmore at home. One from the late 2000s, so made with the steam-heated stills that were installed in 2001, and not with fire-heated stills. And that’s it. No other Ardmore among the many in my cellar waiting to be opened in the future. Of course, I should’ve stockpiled a decade or so ago, but I won’t dwell. Rectify this oversight, I shall.
Ardmore 1997 24 Years (49.6%, WhiskyNerds, C#901451)
Nose: Brighter and even fruitier than some other late 1990s Ardmore I recently tried. Lemon zest, white grapes, nectarines, and grilled pineapple parts, all elevated by the faintest notion of wood smoke. A whiff of plaster too, followed by cotton candy, chalk and forest floor. Super sophisticated and truly complex. Taste: Velvety mouthfeel with elegant tropical fruits, such as papaya, mango, pineapple and lemons, but also touches of resin and soft, extremely gentle smoke. Just a touch of damp oak with moderate, earthy spices. Finish: Medium length with a whiff of earthy smoke, chalk and lingering, sweet fruits. Ending on an ashy note.
It's been a while since I've tasted it, but my mind kept wandering to a 12-year-old Laphroaig imported by Bonfanti (bottled in the 1970s). This Ardmore could be sort of a modern Highlands version of it. Less ashy and not medicinal, but the same type of old school peat influence and fruits. It's also more polished than most other late 1990s Ardmore I'm familiar with. The finish could be a little longer, but I'm nitpicking, really. Now available from selected retailers.