...where distraction is the main attraction.

Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Ardmore 21 year old 1979 Old Malt Cask, cask DL 266

The new year started with snowfall. So yes, 2024, Ice to see you too. It's as good of a time as any to warm up with a week of Ardmore! I have another four SMWSes distilled on 23/10/1997, so by the end of this week I'll have tried nine of the 20-ish sibling hoggies from that date. Yay for me! But before that, let's start off in the 1970s, please.

pic source
Distillery: Ardmore
Region: Highlands (Eastern)
Independent Bottler: Douglas Laing
Range: Old Malt Cask
Age: 21 years (Nov 1979 - Mar 2001)
Maturation: 30th-fill butt?
Cask #: DL 266
Outturn: 648 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 50%
(from a bottle split)


It's been 203 days since I used the A-word (and 734 days since I applied it to an Ardmore), so I'm allowed to fish it out now. The austere nose offers up only oats, yeast, horseradish, and slivovitz for the first 30 minutes. Then there's a little bit of lemon, metal, and new carpet. It picks up a nice farmy note around 45 minutes in. Meanwhile, the palate is sweet and lemony, slightly tarry and minty, with some fresh herbs in the background. It gets more oily and industrial with time. Honey, lemons, and oranges appear in the finish, where the whisky is more oily and salty than peaty.

DILUTED to 43%abv, or 1 tsp of water per 30ml whisky

Silvovitz and citronella move to the front of the nose, with coconut, honey, and ground cloves in the middle. A little bit of seaweed slips in later. The palate remains sweet and lemony, now with golden raisins, honey, and a whiff of wood smoke in the back. It finishes with honey, salt, and cayenne pepper.


This wasn't what I expected, though I probably should have due to the Ardmore's very light color. The nose is quite lean and raw at times, but in a good way. It certainly isn't a contemporary style. Going a different direction, the palate is sweetie pie with only a suggestion of complexity in the background. This would be a interesting bottle to sit with and mull over for a year or two, but because it was bottled almost 23 years ago, I'm just going to have to fantasize about that.

Availability - Secondary market?
Pricing - ???
Rating - 86