I have a bit of a soft spot for Ardmore. There’s no real good reason for it, other than that I like an underdog. Everybody likes an underdog, right?
Only about 1 percent of Ardmore’s production ends up being bottled as a single malt, and the rest ends up in blended whiskies such as Teacher’s. I get why blenders would like to include Ardmore in their recipe: It’s simply very good whisky with a subtle peat influence (12 to 14 PPM). And if you know me just a little bit, you know I’m a sucker for the restraint use of peat.
The Ardmore from The Single Cask I’m reviewing today is a little different though, seeing as it matured in an ex-Laphroaig barrel. A little while back one of these was offered by the casQueteers as well, a cask-sharing initiative from the Netherlands. While I was tempted to participate, I backed out exactly because it matured in an ex-Laphroaig barrel. I like my Ardmore to be just that… Ardmore.
Ardmore 2009 9 Years Old (58.5%, The Single Cask, C#1312)
Nose: Some olive brine with hints of honey and peanut skins. There’s a whiff of green banana, as well as wood smoke and licorice root. Slightly herbal. Pretty mature for its age. Taste: Certainly very reminiscent of Laphroaig, which I find a bit of a shame, as I usually very much enjoy Ardmore in itself. It’s much more coastal than your average Ardmore. There’s a hint of iodine, some salinity as well. It has a certain earthiness to it, and a good amount of walnuts and almonds. Of course there’s a fair bit of peat here as well. Finish: Lingering peat smoke, laurel, soft spices. Fairly long.
I would’ve liked a little more Ardmore and a little less Laphroaig, but that’s just me. Overall this is a good, young-ish, peated whisky, that I’m sure will appeal to plenty of people.