Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Whisky Review: Gordon & Macphail Cask Strength Ardmore 13 Year 1990/2004

G&M has a long-standing relationship with Ardmore, releasing a number of semi-official bottlings. This also means that they have a deep selection to pick single casks from.

This was distilled in 1990, filled into a refill ex-bourbon barrel, then bottled in 2004 at 56.8% without coloring or chill filtration.

Thanks to Michael Kravitz for the sample.

G&M Ardmore 13 Year 1990/2004 Cask #12275

Nose: lots of alcohol initially that burns off after a bit - reveals big floral/violet notes with a savory edge, cured meat, hard candy fruit/berry notes, apples/pears/grapes, dry malt, oak, and peat smoke. After adding a few drops of water the floral and fruit notes integrate, the savoriness spreads out, the oak become stronger and absorbs the peat, the vanilla really comes out,

Taste: lots of alcoholic heat, cask strength sweetness with undergirding oak starting at the front and working almost all the way back to be joined by berry/apple/pear/floral/vanilla overtones around the middle, followed by drier malt and more savory oak with a touch of peat near the back. After dilution the alcohol joins together with the sweetness to make it seem drier, the fruit/berry notes in the middle are amplified, there are some vanilla overtones, and whatever peat was there before practically disappears until the finish.

Finish: dry peat, savory oak, malt, lingering alcoholic heat

I have mixed feelings about this whisky. The first time I tried it, the alcoholic heat was almost overwhelming, making it hard to find anything else. By the second time I tried it, a lot of the heat had blown off, leaving it far more enjoyable. It's all academic since this particular cask is long gone, but there are other of similar vintage and age that can still be purchased and may be in roughly the same ballpark.

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