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Monday, January 23, 2023

Ardmore 24 year old 1997 WhiskySponge, edition 76

(Ardmore cluster homepage)

The final two members of this Ardmore cluster were bottled by Mr. WhiskySponge himself. I'm not sure why I saved them for last, but pre-tasting nosings tell me they're different than the other ten in this series. Starting with the Sponge's refill hoggie, the oldest non-sherry cask of the group...

Distillery: Ardmore
Region: Highlands (Eastern)
Independent Bottler: WhiskySponge
Age: 24 years (1997 - 2022)
Maturation: refill hogshead
Outturn: 250 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 52.4%
(from a bottle split)


The nose arrives intensely piney, with crushed lemongrass and pickle brine (MGP-style) in the background. Notes of lox and lemon candy develop after a 20+ minutes. Oh my ganja, the palate. Wow. Uh okay, yeah, "hops" and dried oregano, grapefruit, pineapple, and some of the nose's pine. Then mezcal and metal and a whiff of peppery smoke. It finishes mostly peppery and metallic with some pineapple and IPA in the back.

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

The nose is a little more Ardmoreish now, with more beach and stones, rather than pine. Some rock candy in there as well. The palate indeed turns more towards hops than "hops". A bit more vibrant overall, sweeter and rootier, but still quite metallic. Its finish lingers sugar-free, plenty bitter and metallic.


My Annoying Opinions reviewed his part of the bottle split two weeks ago. We found different notes and he seems to have liked it better than I, but we both were disappointed with this whisky that reads younger than its age. Devoid of the charm and grace found in the cluster's other 24 year old, this malt feels like it wasn't done cooking when it was bottled. May I dare suggest that a second maturation — like Sponge's other Ardmore — could have helped a little? Yes, this is me that's tut-tutting a spirit-forward whisky. I'll shut up now.

Availability - Still available as of the date of this post
Pricing - £230
Rating - 84