Scotch Whisky Review: A Pair of 18 and 19 Year Old Ardmore

Following up my review of two younger, fantastic Ardmores, today I’ll take a look at two older IB Ardmore from Maltbarn and The Archives.

Today we’ll have a go at the rightmost two bottles!

Ardmore 2003 Maltbarn 18 Year Old / 51.9% ABV

Tasted neat

Moving onto the older category, this 18 year old Ardmore from Maltbarn was distilled in 2003, matured in a sherry cask, and then bottled in 2021 with an outturn of just 122 bottles.

  • Color: russet (1.3)
  • Nose: a little smoke, smores, floral; lilacs, ground nutmeg, and clover
  • Taste: some peat smoke, honey, blackberry, leather, brown sugar, and a hint of citrus
  • Finish: medium, sweet, with vanilla, and sherry

A lot of the distillery character here has been softened by the sherry, but you end up with a rich, lightly smoked dessert whisky that is undeniably delicious.

Rating: 7/10

Ardmore 1999 Archives 19 Year Old / 55.8% ABV

Tasted neat

Moving onto the older category, this 19 year old Ardmore from Whiskybase’s The Archives: Fishes of Samoa imprint was distilling on 29.09.1999 and laid to rest in ex-bourbon barrel #801661 for 19 years until it was bottled on 07.03.2019. This series is cask-strength, non-coloured, and non-chill-filtered.

Going purely off the ABV, this is likely a less-active barrel which should balance showing off Ardmore distillate with a nice, but unoverpowering, feeling of stately age.

  • Color: burnished (1.1)
  • Nose: peat smoke, camphor, salt spray, honeysuckle, vanilla, and lemon slices
  • Taste: oaky, rich toasted sugar with crushed almonds, peat smoke, some iodine, and lemon peel
  • Finish: medium; oily tropical fruits

The balance here is perfect, this is undoubtedly still Ardmore, but it’s pleasantly aged, sweet, and oaky.

Rating: 8/10

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Elliott

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