Monday, October 20, 2014
New release - Ardmore 'Legacy'
The Ardmore distillery sits between rugged hills in the village of Kennethmont, which is about 45 minutes drive west of Aberdeen. It was founded in 1898 by William Teacher & Sons to give them a consistent and constant supply for their increasingly popular Teacher's blended Scotch. The distillery was designed by renowned architect Charles Doig and the whisky produced there has featured in the Teacher's range ever since. The first proprietary single malt was only released in 2007. It is a large distillery with an annual capacity of 5.5 million litres and many of the casks destined for release as Ardmore single malt are warehoused on site.
The new release continues the distillery's tradition of producing peated malt, which they have done since the early 1900s. Ardmore is currently the only Highland distillery to produce the majority of its whisky in this smoky style. Legacy comes with re-designed packaging, which prominently features map-style graphics of the local area and Ardmore's eagle logo. Legacy is bottled at 40% ABV and is available in both supermarkets and specialist stores for around the £30 mark.
Our tasting notes
The colour is golden yellow and the nose shows a mix of sweetness, fruitiness and smokiness. There is plenty of fudge, vanilla and toffee, and these are complimented by fresh green apples and pears. The smokiness is soft, savoury and slightly earthy. All the aromas are heightened by a hint of white pepper and cinnamon spice.
On the palate the whisky has an instant grip and vibrancy. The feel in the mouth is lovely and mixes sweeter and drier notes. A delicate savoury smoke hits first and this has an earthy feel to it. Then follows some lovely sweetness - think of icing sugar, boiled caramel sweets and honey - and distinct fresh green notes (imagine the apple and pear from the nose, plus some dried grass/hay). With time, the earthy smoke fades and becomes more vegetal, with plenty of late malted barley notes coming through along with a pinch of cinnamon and baking spice.
The finish is of decent length. It is the sweetness that fades first to leave the warming cinnamon spice, bittersweet malted barley and gentle smoke to linger. This creates a pleasant mouth watering dryness.
What's the verdict?
The conclusion here is similar to that of the Glen Moray Classic 'Port Cask Finish' that we reviewed last week - this is a great entry level whisky and one whose quality belies its lowly price tag. The styles of whisky are different, but the similarities do not stop there ... the Legacy is not the most complex whisky but it is easy drinking.
It offers a good introduction in to the smoky/peaty category, as intended by Beam Suntory's Peated Malts of Distinction initiative, and an alternative to other similar whiskies for those who want to try something a bit different or quirkier. Those lamenting on social media about the old Traditional Cask being withdrawn and replaced with an 'inferior product' need not worry too much in our opinion ...