Thursday, November 19, 2009

Have just tried ... Ardmore 1990 from Gordon & MacPhail

ardmore 1990 from gordon & macphailArdmore is a distillery that is located in the village of Kennethmont, close to Aberdeen in the east Highlands of Scotland. The name comes from the Gaelic 'ard moi', meaning 'big slope'. The distillery was founded in 1898 by Adam Teacher, who was the son of the famous blender William Teacher. Their company, William Teacher & Sons, decided to build their own distillery so as to have more control over the quality of whisky that was required for their blends and to have a constant supply. The distillery is currently owned by Beam Global and a large percentage of the 5.2 million litres that are produced at Ardmore annually still goes to the Teacher's blended whisky range.

As a result of this, Ardmore single malts are hard to find. The distillery's profile was raised in 2007 when they released their first whisky for a while. This was named the 'Traditional Cask' and sales continue to grow. The only other option is through the independent bottling companies, such as this expression released by Gordon & MacPhail. Unusually for a Highland whisky, Ardmore is made using peated malt. The level is 14ppm (phenols parts per million - the scale for measuring the peatiness in barley and whisky), making it peatier than most other Highland whiskies but not as smoky as Islay or island whiskies (which generally range from 25-55ppm). Ardmore is the only Highland distillery to permanently produce smoky whisky, although others in the nearby Speyside region practice this occassionally (namely Benriach, Benromach and Tomintoul).

This Ardmore was distilled in 1990 and bottled by Gordon & MacPhail in 2006 at 16 years of age. The colour is straw-like with a golden tint and the nose is pungent and smoky. There is a hit of aggressive peat (think of burnt acrid peat with a distinct bitter edge) but this mellows with time. Coming through after this are some lovely elements such as sweet vanilla, malty cereal grains and something floral (imagine heather). On the palate, the peatiness is less pronounced and combines well with the other characteristics. The smokiness feels savoury in its nature (think of meaty barbeque smoke) and this compliments some lovely sweet vanilla, toffee, cereals and oaky wood. The finish is long with an interesting toasted nuttiness appearing (imagine toasted almonds). The smokiness is still there and remains quite meaty and savoury but with an bitter edge that combines both iodine and menthol.

This is a lovely whisky that offers an alternative to some of the more well known whiskies in the smoky style. A bottle should cost around £30 and is available from specialist whisky retailers and Gordon & MacPhail's website.

1 comment:

Granov said...

very nice review.
i love the teacher's blend and it's smokey character. so i should give this one a try
thx for a lovely post.