Ardmore is unusual in a few ways. First, it is a fairly peaty (10 ppm) Speyside malt which are few and far between. Second, The Gordon & Macphail bottling I'm reviewing is officially sanctioned by the distillery. Third, it was one of the last to still use coal to heat the stills finally changing to steam in 2002. Ardmore was built in 1898 by William Teacher to provide malt for his blend "Teacher's Highland Cream" A year later the whisky market collapsed but Ardmore survived since Teacher's was so popular. Expanded from 2 to 4 stills in 1955 and aging doubling to 8 stills in 1974 all the stills are exact replicas of the original two. The output is up to 3.2 million liters which makes it one of the larger distilleries in Scotland. Now owned by Fortune Brands ( the same folks who own Jim Beam) since 2005 Ardmore is still mostly used in Teachers Blends and is almost never bottled as an official distillery bottling but sent off site to G&M to be bottled as a sanctioned single malt.
Ardmore is a pale yellow in the glass which a little surprising since it has spent almost 16 years in an ex-bourbon cask. I would think it would be darker. This however doesn't seem to adversely effect the flavor.
The nose is sweet and malty with a smoky medicinal note very similar to an Islay malt. The taste is very reflective of the nose and reinforces the similarities to an Islay dram. Smokey, sweet with a slight oiliness riding on the peat.
Overall this is a Speyside that any peat lover would be happy to drink. While not quite being the absolute best of both worlds it does a good job of bridging the Islay Isles to the Mainland. A solid B+ dram that I can recommend without hesitation.
Edited by AVB, 14 December 2007 - 10:00 PM.