...where distraction is the main attraction.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

A Brief History of Ardmore Distillery (Part 2), plus a review of Ardmore 6 year old 2008 van Wees The Ultimate, cask 800067


William Teacher & Sons began construction on Ardmore Distillery in 1898. William I had passed away in 1876. His son, William II, died in 1880. And before the distillery's construction had completed, Adam Teacher passed on. William's son-in-law, Walter Carl Bergius, helped run things while the company received help from the nearby Glendronach distillery to get Ardmore up and running. Production began in 1899.

The distillery expanded from one pair of stills to two in 1955, then added an additional two in 1974. While there were a few special single malt bottlings of Ardmore during this time, almost all of the spirit was needed for Teacher's Highland Cream. Demand for Teacher's increased to the point that William Teacher & Sons bought Glendronach in 1960 to help secure more malt.

In 1976, Allied Distillers bought William Teacher & Sons, picking up Teacher's Highland Cream, Glendronach and Ardmore in the process.

...stay tuned for Part 3 on Friday.

MacLean, Charles. Whiskypedia. A Compendium of Scotch Whisky. New York, NY: Skyhorse Publishing, 2010.
MacLean, Charles. Scotch Whisky, A Liquid History. London, UK: Cassell Illustrated, 2005.
Ronde, Ingvar (Ed.). Malt Whisky Yearbook 2016. Shropshire, UK: MagDig Media. 2015.
Roskrow, Dominic (Ed.). 1001 Whiskies You Must Taste Before You Die. New York, NY: Universe Publishing. 2012.


Distillery: Ardmore
Region: Highlands (Eastern)
Independent Bottler: van Wees (The Ultimate)
Age: 6 years (June 24, 2008 - October 29, 2014)
Maturation: Bourbon Barrel
Cask number: 800067
Bottle: 263 of 340
Alcohol by Volume: 46%
Chillfiltered? No
Colored? No
(Sample taken from an OCSC event bottle)

Its color is pinot grigio or lighter. At its best, the nose reads like baby Caol Ila infused with honey. But it's not often at its best. It's mostly new make. Barley, vanilla frosting, plastic toys, Red Vines candy and stinky cheese. The palate is hot and spirity. Barley meets rye white dog. Salt, char, caramel and a late bitterness. The peat trends towards farmy. The mouth-drying finish is pretty flat with chlorine and barley notes. A quiet chocolate note in the distance.

WITH WATER (~40%abv)
The nose is aggressively farmy. Notes of pancake mix, yeast and pears follow. The palate goes harsh. Burnt hair. Bitter ashes. A strong tanginess overtakes the mild sweetness. The finish is very tangy, very burnt and very bitter with a weird caramel note in the middle.

The Ultimate has released at least 14 casks of five-to-eight-year-old 2008 Ardmore over the past couple of years. That comes out to more than 4000 bottles of immature Ardmore. Most of these casks can be easily found any many European whisky retailers. While the prices on these bottles are very reasonable, my concern is that The Ultimate has flooded the market with casks that sincerely needed more time to mature. Why did they do this? Did they really think there's a market for this stuff? I'm their target demo and I don't want to buy a bottle of this even if I can get it for less than $40.

It's not the worst single malt on the market, but it's the least exceptional Ardmore I've ever tried. I'm actually kind of sorry I selected this bottle for a whisky event.

If you try this whisky, DO NOT ADD WATER. It's drinkable neat. Or, at the very least, it's noseable. Young peated whisky is always fun to sniff, as it blasts off in all sorts of crazy directions, and this is no exception. The palate can be trying, though. While it's probably as close to Ardmore new make we plebeians are allowed to try, it's also probably not as good as actual full strength Ardmore spirit because some unformed barrel-related notes have slipped in. And it's also not strong enough to be amusingly crazy.

Jordan at Chemistry of the Cocktail wasn't the biggest fan of this whisky either had some issues with this whisky, though he did like it more than I. Did I mention, don't add water?

Availability - Many European retailers
Pricing - most of these casks can be found for less than €40
Rating - 70 (don't add water)

1 comment:

  1. I think my tasting notes sound a little more harsh than my overall opinion. It was still pretty drinkable to me despite the youth and seemed worth the money given what's available these days. But mileage is definitely going to vary.