Scotch Whisky Review: A Pair of 11 Year Old Ardmore

In this review, we’ll take a look at two Ardmore from different independent bottlers, both eleven years old. Tomorrow I plan to tackle the older pair to the right!

After trying the knockout TWA 21 year old “Castle Dornoch,” my first from Ardmore Distillery, I was sold, and I’ve been picking up Ardmore here and there as I can.

The lineup, tasted in order of age, colour as a tie-breaker — not quite as pictured

Ardmore 2009 Watt Whisky 11 Year Old / 52% ABV

Tasted neat

Bottled for the Campbeltown Whisky Company / Watt Whisky’s “The Electric Coo Series”, this Ardmore was distilled in December 2009 and laid to rest in a single ex-bourbon barrel. Probably because of the peat here, the front label features a bovine skeleton and the subtitle “an adventure 10,500 years in the making”.

The back has a simulated review discussion between Brain & Pinky:

BRAIN’S CHOICE:

Ah, the joy that is Ardmore Scotch Whisky. Delightful suggestions of peat with Autumnal heather and Highland dew drops cascading down the soft green banks of the burn… Right, stop that. Started off as a nice little review and then got silly. This one is all about the distillery; the wood is tired and needs a holiday so we’re setting it free back into the wild (or more likely to be made into garden furniture).

PINKY’S REBUTTAL:

Classic, clean Highland spirit with loads of distillery character shining through..? What’s going on here then? Where’s the mucking about with odes of oak influence, finishing, or rather ‘resting here, there and everywhere until no trace of any distillery can be detected by human nose. If we did such a thing (or if it even existed), this would be a ‘serious’ dram, Pinky & Brain being serious… begins looking in the book of Revelations

Een moaie koe

That last is Dutch for “A beautiful cow”.

  • Color: yellow gold (0.5)
  • Nose: squeezed lemons, clean peat smoke, petrichor, a little honey, and heather
  • Taste: richly oily and thick; lemon meringue, green grapeskin, some melon, and graham crackers
  • Finish: warming and long, mostly icing sugar, the slightest hint of oakiness, and citrus

This is really an excellent, spirit-forward Ardmore with absolutely nothing to detract from the clean, elegant lines of the spirit.

Rating: 7/10

Ardmore 2010 BlackAdder Raw Cask 11 Year Old / 60.1% ABV

Tasted neat, then with a little mineral water

Next up is a single cask Ardmore from BlackAdder under their “Raw Cask” line, meaning the bottle is not only un-chill-filtered, but not filtered at all and has cask residues. Distilled at Ardmore distillery on 30th June 2010, this is just one of 90 bottles drawn at Cask Strength from barrel no 803497, bottled in August 2021. Mine is bottle #78.

  • Color: amber (0.7)
  • Nose: lemon zest, ethanol, tropical fruits, parfume, hints of peat; smoked candied lemon, sea spray
  • Taste: minerality, sharp bright pear, peat, straw; cream cake, guava
  • Finish: medium-long, a little tart; with water, sweet oakiness

This is very distillate-forward, much like the previous Watt-whisky 11 year old, but the cask here is a little bit more active and provides some vanilla and oak. With the strength here, a dash of water doesn’t drown the spirit and brings out more complexity to enjoy.

Excellent.

Rating: 8/10

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Elliott

Personal interests in literature, SF, and whisky/whiskey/scotch, Software Engineer by Trade