So far Ardnamurchan has mostly excited me in theory, not so much in reality. Not even after having visited in May. I’ve liked Ardnamurchan, but I haven’t quite loved their whisky. Yet. Released earlier in 2022, this Ardnamurchan AD/02.22 Cask Strength might’ve just changed that.
Let me first state that I’ve enjoyed the Ardnamurchanreleases so far, including their Spirit releases from earlier years. It’s just that none have been able to quite struck the right nerve. Or to really make me feel something. Up until now.
When you scan the QR code on the bottle, there’s a lot of information to unpack about the Ardnamurchan AD/02.22 Cask Strength. For instance, it was distilled from Concerto barley (the dominant variety for much of the 2010s) grown at Broomhall Farm. There’s information on the mashwater temperature and who the mash operator was. Fermentation took 76 hours and was done with Anchor and Fermentis yeast.
And maturation? Well, you can find the entire list of all 50 casks that were used, if that is the sort of thing that interests you. In summary, 40 casks of peated and 10 casks of unpeated whisky. Only 5 ex-sherry casks were used and 45 ex-bourbon casks. Most casks were filled in 2015, but 3 of them date from 2014. That’s some transparency right there.
Nose: Opens up on whiffs of pickled lemon, golden syrup and tobacco smoke, but there’s a floral touch also. Then some oat cookies, roasted peanuts and orange marmelade. Surprisingly mellow and well-behaved for a peated cask strength single malt. Taste: Creamy mouthfeel with shortbread, white pepper, lemon zest and honey. Touches of vegetal smoke, bananas and some mineral whispers as well. Also briny oysters and green olives. Finish: More of the same. Just really good.
Easily the best Ardnamurchan for me to date. I find it hard to pinpoint what it is exactly, but there's a maturity and depth here that is unexpected. It's texture is extremely fatty and my satisfaction is only heightened by the effortless balance that is achieved. This is up there compared to other affordable cask strength releases by other distilleries.