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  • Writer's pictureHarold

Ardmore Trio

Direct-fired pot stills have virtually become a thing of the past, as most (outside of about 5) distilleries, in Scotland, have switched to more efficient/cost beneficial methods of charging their stills. Although, it seems to be making a comeback with distilleries like Dunphail and the soon-to-come, Kythe distillery championing the use of this, more difficult method.

The conversation has already been dissected to death by far greater minds than myself, so I'll stick to the Ardmore-centric details. Like how they were one of the later adopters of steam heating, finally making the switch in 2001. In an effort to have their cake and eat it too, they attempted to mimic the effects of "hot spots" from direct fire, by purposely installing a few kinks in the steam coils. If anyone knows where to find the documented results from this experiment...please help a fellow whisky nerd out!

Ardmore (Single Cask Nation) 2009/10 Year - Bourbon Hogshead #707927 (Roma Exclusive) 58.8%
Bottle Image Credit: Whiskybase

Ardmore (Single Cask Nation) 2009/10 Year - Bourbon Hogshead 707927 (Roma Exclusive) 58.8%

A modern era, young-ish Ardmore from one of my favorite bottlers, bottled exclusively for one of NYC's finest retail champions of Scotch whisky. The cartoonishly crafted label is adorned with mystical characterizations of Jason & Joshua from SCN, along with the Roma crew riding upon the great "Chewbacca," who is often confused for the famous "Falkor" of The Neverending Story" fame.

Appearance: Pale straw.

First Whiff: Lemon trees planted on a peat bog.

Nose: Obviously distillate driven…and lovely. Citrus loaded in the front, salty citrus (lemons/grapefruit) backed by a mossy, mineral (wet clay) undertone with subtle shots of cooked green apple too. With water: Softer; little bit sweeter. Toastier side of things shows up with a bit of sweet peat…coconut/caramel/French vanilla.

Palate: Oily and fresh. Coating but not fat. Bright citrus and piney, wood notes lead the way…citron heavy too. Very malty, like fresh wort or a hoppy summer IPA. With water: Much cleaner. Dials back the citrus and I get salty seafood…fresh Blue Point oysters.

Finish: : Medium, clean.

Summary: Needs water. Little singular, but easy drinking. Good highball/summer pour.


Ardmore (Thompson Bros.) 1998/21 Year - Refill Hogshead 51.5%
Bottle Image Credit: Whiskybase

Ardmore (Thompson Bros.)

1998/21 Year - Refill Hogshead 51.5%

It's strange to think Phil & Simon Thompson have already been independently bottling for over 7 years now. This 2019 release still feels like a recent release in most respects, and one that understandably might've gotten a bit overshadowed by all of the other outstanding stuff they've been bringing to market through the years.

Appearance: Old gold

First Whiff: Black leather wrapped pineapples.

Nose: Vanilla Custard. Yellow fruits…dried pineapples, dried bananas, and juicy fruit gum. Some maltiness in the form of buttery biscuits (not warmed/toasted). Grassier, subtle peat. More floral.

Palate: More mineral than the SCN…like sipping a minty mojito on a wet, pebble beach. Fresh orchard, crisp green apples with honey. With water: Sweet key lime pie, custardy with some farmy funk in the back.

Finish: Medium/long, dry peppery citrus.

Summary: Another one that takes well to water. Great balance and cask enrichment. Slightly more distillate driven with the citrus but great sweetness from the hoggie as well. Nose was great. Got more floral as it opened up.


Ardmore (Whisky Nerds) 1997/24 Year - Hogshead #901451 49.6%

Ardmore (WhiskyNerds)

1997/24 Year - Hogshead 901451 49.6%

This was undoubtedly a shocker when it was declared as the next WhiskyNerds' release, earlier this year. Held in the highest regards for only bottling the top casks available (ie. the Springbanks, Clynelish's of days past), when the price of this lesser-talked about Highlander bottling was announced, skeptics couldn't believe that Ardmore could fetch such a premium, as this latest release had declared. However, samples wisely found their way to some well-known reviewers and the quality of the spirit was made abundantly clear.

Appearance: Pale brown/Deep copper

First Whiff: Chalk dusted apples.

Nose: Fantastic…Vibrant…ya. Jam packed here with old honey. Honeydew melon, and pineapple dusted honey crisps. Kiwi-lime (key-lime?). Some fresh barley grist/husk. Subtle floral peat, integrated beautifully as it just heightens the feel of this classic earthy highland malt.

Palate: Fat and oily. Lots of tropical goodness…more grilled pineapples and green bananas/pressed yucca. Fresh cantaloupe, papaya. Woody pencil shavings. Brown sugar coated glazed ham. Really nice minty’ness coming off the light, whispery peat.

Finish: Long and oily. Tightens up a bit at the end…the leathery/minerality comes back.

Summary: No water for this one. Perhaps it would’ve gotten even fruitier, but I didn’t want to let go of that minty vibe. I’ve seen this one compared to older Laphroaigs but the profile, for me speaks more to that ‘99-’01 style bourbon cask Bowmore’s. Similar also to those early 2000’s “Secret Orkney” Highland Park’s as well, but a tad less floral. Really amazing stuff. The price was eye-catching on this one’s release but no doubt, the WhiskyNerds knew they had a winner. Hopefully these older Ardmore’s can fly under the radar a bit longer…before those ’96 vintage, Ben Nevis big mouths figure out what’s going on!



Ardmore Trio


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