...where distraction is the main attraction.

Friday, January 13, 2023

Ardmore 22 year old 1997 SMWS 66.174

(Ardmore cluster homepage)

This, the oldest of this week's four SMWS 23/10/1997s, had the lightest color, while the youngest was the darkest. Yet, once again, the hues had no bearing on the whiskies' qualities. Still, I like me some five-beer piss(-colored whisky). And the liquid inside this sample bottle looks the part.

Distillery: Ardmore
Region: Highlands (Eastern)
Independent Bottler: Scotch Malt Whisky Society
Age: 22 years (23 October 1997 - ???)
Maturation: refill bourbon hogshead
Cask#: 66.174, "A vintage dinner suit"
Outturn: 259 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 56.1%
(from a bottle split)


All kinds of textures in the nose! First there's pork loin with a citrus sauce. Apples, lemons, brown sugar and wood smoke in the middle. Guava and incense in the back. The palate is very earthy, with moderate mineral and smoke notes behind it. Limes and oranges mix with a hint of wood spice. Bits of bitterness, salt and honey float through the background. Earth, lemons and honey in the finish's front with a rooty bitterness in the distance.

DILUTED to 46%abv, or 1¼ tsp of water per 30mL whisky

The nose is very smoky and porky, with a strong whiff of hot concrete. Notes of basil, orange liqueur, and snickerdoodles stay mild throughout. The palate simplifies. Malt, herbal bitterness, and roasted nuts up front. Savoriness and Amrut-ish ginger in the back. The finish matches the palate while adding a squeeze of grapefruit.


It's close race, but this one wins the week for me. The neat nose's variety lines up well, while the neat palate hits that earth + citrus style I always enjoy. It can swim too, but I prefer it at full strength. This week's Ardmore quartet shares some notes, like honey, cinnamon, apples, and minerals, but are each their own individual single malt, demonstrating the little-bit-of-alchemy-and-a-whole-lotta-chemistry pleasure of aged spirits.

Availability - Sold out
Pricing - ???
Rating - 88