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Monday, March 25, 2019

Ardmore 14 year old 2000 Asta Morris, cask AM042

Once upon a time, it was a dream of mine to turn this blog into Diving for Ardmore, but reality has since set in. Though many indie bottlers are now pricing single cask Ardmores towards the upper tier of Highland malts, there are plenty of sub-par Ardmores (or Ardlesses, if I'm going to be hilarious) out there. But I'm hoping none of this week's trio falls into that category.

This first Ardmore is a single cask, former bourbon barrel, released by Belgian bottler Asta Morris. I had some issues photographing the sample bottle.

Distillery: Ardmore
Region: Highlands (Eastern)
Independent Bottler: Asta Morris
Age: 14 years old (2000 - 2015)
Maturation: bourbon barrel
Cask: AM042
Outturn: 181
Exclusive to: Belgium
Alcohol by Volume: 51.3%
(from a purchased sample)

Antiseptic-dipped peaches and bandaged pears in the nose. Grilled pork and barn hay. Hints of chalk, cocoa powder and cut grass. A gentle brown sugar sweetness in the palate is joined by Ceylon cinnamon and clementines. Then cayenne pepper, honey, subtle smoke and barley husks. VERY moreish. The long, warm finish holds cinnamon and cayenne heat, toasted barley, salt and mildly sweet peat.

I'm reluctantly adding water...

DILUTED TO ~46%abv, or ¾ tsp of water per 30mL water
There are lemons, pears, bandages, ocean air and pastry dough in the nose. The palate has gotten peatier. It's grassy and herbal. Cinnamon, pepper, tart apples and a similar soft sweetness. The finish still has a good length. Tangy lemons and tart apples. Wood smoke and cinnamon.

If not for the bottle's price, the nose, reminiscent of age-stated Yoichi (remember those? 💔), would have sold me in an instant. The palate and finish are much simpler, though very appealing. The ABV, though low for the age, is at a great spot, and the oak stays out of the way. It's comforting knowing one doesn't have to go back to the early '90s to find a good Ardmore.

Availability - A few Belgian retailers
Pricing - $100+ with shipping
Rating - 88

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