Ardmore – 17yo 1995 Gordon & MacPhail
(Distilled 1995, bottled 2012, Refill sherry, 43%)
Ardmore’s a distillery I know little about, but I usually find Highland malts with a touch of peat (Clynelish/Brora, Pulteney, Glen Garioch…) to be right up my street.
Nose: Soft charcoal smoke and sherry – you really do get a bit of a sense of a freshly re-charred sherry cask. A dollop of plum jam, and then an intriguing mix of savoury-sweet Hoisin sauce, star anise and clean menthol freshness. The sherry contributes a bit of beef stock, and some dried leaves and earth. As it sits in the glass you increasingly get some nice fruitier notes – cherry in particular.
Taste: Apples, lemon zest and ashes. Cigarette ashes that is. Pineapple and other tropical fruits in the background, a bit of earthy meatiness, and then a mentholly rush into the finish.
Finish: Smoky tea, and then a more overt peatiness. Fairly peppery, and then a sort of ashy, dry, preserved lemon aftertaste.
There’s a lot to like here, but I do find the finish just a touch too dry and tannic. Very enjoyable overall though, and worth trying if you’re a peat fan who fancies a break from Islay.