...where distraction is the main attraction.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Ardmore 20 year old 1992 Archives, cask 4764

When a whisky unearths emotions it's due to two things: 1.) It reminds the drinker of another time and another place. 2.) Alcohol is a depressant.

Sorry to spoil the romance.

I caught a wee case of the feels when I poured this sample into my glass. This was a bottle I should have gotten, but didn't. It was seven years ago, to the month. I'd just fallen in deep smit over early '90s Ardmores when I put in a Whiskybase Shop order for a bottle of a beloved Whisky Doris '92. CJ (aka Ras Mazunga of The Shop) recommended their Archives Ardmore bottling of the same vintage. I turned it down, as I wasn't in the habit of buying multiple hundred-dollar whiskies at the same time. (I was so much older then.) Three months later I thought, yeah I'll get one of those. But they were gone, forever.

Life was very different seven years ago. With most of my non-cerebellum and non-skeletal cells having been replaced during that time, I'm pretty sure I'm a different person. Nothing seems to be the same. I don't know if I believe Heraclitus's shtick about being unable to step into the same river twice, or, per Mahayana Buddhism, if there even is a river.

Mathilda started kindergarten today. We'll see who sheds tears about this first, the five year old or the father. I'm opening up a bottle I reserved for the occasion. No, not an Ardmore '92. And, no, I won't finish it on the spot. One drink will do. Maybe two. Then I'll review it in a couple months. In the meantime, here's a sample of the Archives bottling of Ardmore 1992:

Distillery: Ardmore
Region: Highlands (Eastern)
Independent bottler: Archives
Age: 20 years (June 1992 to June 2012)
Maturation: "barrel"
Cask number4765
Outturn: 90(!) bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 48.6%
(Thank you, MAO.)

The nose is lovely and delicate. Lychee, dried apricots, Kasugai peach gummies, lime zest, dried roses, strawberries in cream. Notes of sake aged in cedar. A soft smoke that moves from wood to coal with time. The palate begins with lemon bars and a minerally white wine. Light smoke, a drop of herbal liqueur and a ribbon of salted butterscotch pudding. Then it slips into a different gear, full of extra virgin olive oil and tart guava juice. Though gentle in delivery, the finish lasts remarkably long. Limes, lemons and lychee on one level; stones, dunnage and a hint of bitter herbs on another.

I've used words like "delicate", "gentle" and "soft" here, and indeed this is the gentlest cask strength Ardmore (early '90s or not) I have come across. But none of it is fleeting. The nose and finish, specifically, seem everlasting. I could say they don't make whisky like this anymore, but I don't know who "they" are or what "this" is or if that statement is 100% true. But the whisky from this cask is gorgeous and alarmingly easy to drink. Hail, Ardmore.

Availability - gone
Pricing - ???
Rating - 90

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