Ardmore Traditional Cask
I had pretty high hopes for Ardmore as a potential value buy malt. On sale at $32, it was the least I had ever paid for a non chill-filtered whisky bottled at 46 %. In addition, the "traditional cask" refers to the finishing of the whisky in quarter-sized casks, which is supposed to accelerate aging by increasing exposure of liquid to wood. I was also interested because Ardmore is labelled as a peated malt, is the primary malt in Teacher's Highland Cream, and lastly, has a nice looking bottle.
The whisky is unique and flavorful, but its best use does seem to be as the base of a blend. The same quarter-cask aging technique works well in Laphroaig Quarter Cask to balance the strong peat with oak notes, but here it just makes the whisky slightly bitter, like over-brewed tea. Ardmore Traditional Cask is youthful, malty, thick, and yeasty. On the nose: soft peat, beach wood, poundcake, and (on the more pleasant whiffs) gingerbread. In the mouth, the malt and yeast overpower the peat, but there is a nice little smoke in there too that lingers in the otherwise short finish. You can taste the malty creaminess that makes Teacher's, but here it is a little too thick. The total effect is a little like eating under-done cake with wet batter inside. 76 points (C).
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