I’m experiencing déjà vu. A 22-year-old Ardmore? Check. Distilled in 2000? Double check. Matured in first-fill sherry wood? Triple check. And bottled at 54.2 per cent? Quadruple check! This Ardmore 2000 22 Years from The Ultimate has the exact same specs as a similar Ardmore released earlier in the year by the Whisky Sponge.
At first glance, the only difference is that the Ardmore from The Ultimate fully matured in a first-fill sherry butt, while the Whisky Sponge release was ‘just’ a finish of 2+ years. Knowing that both these casks were sourced from the Signatory Vintage warehouse, I sensed something was up.
The outturn of 697 bottles after a supposed 22-year maturation period in a sherry butt also didn’t quite compute. That’s near 500 litres of cask strength whisky after more than two decades? Either the angels really didn’t care for this Ardmore by The Ultimate, or a mistake was made on the label.
It turned out to be the former. When I reached out to Van Wees (the company that owns The Ultimate), they quickly confirmed that the Ardmore indeed had been finished, instead of a full maturation in a sherry cask. An honest mistake that I’m glad to rectify here.
A bottler that built its reputation on affordability, this Ardmore 2000 22 Years is one of the more expensive whiskies Van Wees has ever released. It’s undeniably good whisky, but at 280 euro it is understandably not sold out yet.
Ardmore 2000 22 Years (54.2%, The Ultimate, C#2)
Nose: Somewhat dense at first. It needs a bit of time, but is ultimately very rewarding. Hints of burlap, a sliver of charcoal, some mochaccino and damp forest floor. Also polished leather, cigar boxes and dark chocolate, accompanied by chestnuts, walnuts and a touch of aceto di balsamico. Taste: Thick mouthfeel, but somewhat dry also. Hints of mint, some After Eight, a bit of pipe tobacco, but also smoked strawberries, charred oak, earthy peat and just a whisper of tar too. We’re ending things on notes of beechwood, treacle and cracked black peppercorns. Finish: Medium to long. Some dryness, wood smoke and dark chocolate.
Very much in the same ballpark as the Ardmore 2000 22 Years bottled by WhiskySponge. And that's no surprise. It shares DNA, cask type, alcohol percentage. An earthy, heavily-sherried Ardmore that combines sweeter and dryer elements.