...where distraction is the main attraction.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Ardmore 21 year old 1998 Thompson Brothers

(Ardmore cluster homepage)

The brothers Thompson from Dornoch got themselves into the indie bottling business six and a half years ago, wisely getting their hooks into at least six casks of Ardmore, two of which held spirit distilled in 1998. Today's cask duked it out with this week's other two Ardmores. Who won the day (other than me)?

Distillery: Ardmore
Region: Highlands (Eastern)
Independent Bottler: Phil and Simon Thompson
Age: 21 years (1998 - 2019)
Maturation: refill hogshead
Outturn: 256 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 51.5%
(from a bottle split)


A Caol Ila-style peat envelops apricots, citrons, roses and jasmine in the nose. An early toasty note slowly develops into a beach style similar to yesterday's '96. The palate begins very smoky and peppery, reading almost Islay-like at the start. Sea salt, tart citrus, and green bell pepper highlight the mid- and backgrounds. Not much sweetness going on. It all gets very peppery with time. More salt and bitterness in the finish. Lemons and citrons as well. Smoke residue and hot sauce linger longest.

DILUTED to 46%abv, or ¾ tsp of water per 30mL whisky

Much of the nose's peat has been replaced by broken stones, vegetable skins, and citrons, with a hint of fennel seed in the back. The palate gains a great herbal bitterness and mineral smoke, with a sweet orange float on top. It finishes with peppery smoke and the sweet citrus.


This one is more of a brawler than yesterday's Ardmore, smokier and pepperier. I might even like it better, especially once it's diluted. It also illustrates my silly opinion that Ardmore can read like a relative of Caol Ila, with a little less (though similar) peat and more fruit once it gets into its twenties. This time though, the phenolics remain high, while the fruit rests mostly in the nose, all merging well with minerals and pepper.

Availability - Sold out
Pricing - €140-ish?
Rating - 88