ardnamurchan ad rum cask release berry bros pioneers collective

Ardnamurchan AD/ Rum Cask Release / 2017 Berry Bros & Rudd (2023)

After an initial onslaught of releases, Ardnamurchan has slowed down. They’ve created a range that’s much easier to understand, which includes the latest Ardnamurchan AD/ Rum Cask Release. I’ll be reviewing it below, alongside Berry Bros & Rudd‘s Ardnamurchan from The Collective #1: The Pioneers.

Ardnamurchan has been about transparency from the start. That’s why I can tell you the Ardnamurchan AD/ Rum Cask Release fermented for 76 hours on average, closely monitored by fermentation operator Gordon Mackenzie. Or that Nicky Docherty was the still operator.

Also, this batch matured in 31 ex-bourbon barrels, 18 of which were filled with unpeated spirit, and the other 13 with peated spirit. The entire batch was finished in Jamaican rum casks.

The distillery runs on hydroelectric, solar and biomass power managed from its own forestry. Because of Ardnamurchan’s sustainability efforts, it was included in The Collective #1: The Pioneers, a collection of spirits from Berry Bros & Rudd created by sustainable distillers. Ten producers from around the world were included.

A single sherry cask from Ardnamurchan was selected by Jonny McMillan, Berry Bros & Rudd’s former reserve whisky manager, who tips Ardnamurchan to become a West Coast classic, “…perhaps Brora’s baby brother.”

High praise indeed.

ardnamurchan ad rum cask release

Ardnamurchan AD/ Rum Cask Release (55%, OB, 2023)

Nose: Seems less expressive than most Ardnamurchan. Gentle minerals, somewhat earthy and a soft smokiness, as well as grilled lemons and apricots. Hints of lawn clippings, sandalwood and vanilla pods also.
Taste: Driftwood and gentle smoke with sticky honey, white pepper and rhubarb. It has a nice saline quality, as well as notes of walnuts, ashes and marshmallows.
Finish: Short to medium. Somewhat leafy with ashy smoke.

It feels younger, less developed and certainly not as rich as most other Ardnamurchan. While bottled at high strength, the AD/ Rum Cask Release has a thinner mouthfeel than I’d expect. Nice whisky, just not living up to my expectations entirely. If you think of it, that’s a pretty decent compliment.

ardnamurchan 2017 berry bros rudd collective pioneers

Ardnamurchan 2017 (59.7%, Berry Bros & Rudd ‘The Pioneers’, C#374)

Nose: Furniture polish with Maraschino cherries and beech smoke, as well as pine resin, breakfast tea and dark chocolate. Then a sliver of eucalyptus alongside smoked paprika powder, bacon, dry hay and barns. The depth and complexity are impressive.
Taste: Two thumbs up for the viscosity. Cigar boxes, tobacco leaves, grilled pork and crushed mint leaves, accompanied by cocoa powder, cassis and thyme. A good amount of resin too, as well as a pinch of black pepper and more herbs.
Finish: Long. More dark chocolate, pine wood and spices.

Quite an insane, extreme whisky, yet this Ardnamurchan from Berry Bros & Rudd just works. The sherry oak has been amazingly active, but it performs well in conjunction with the Ardnamurchan spirit.

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