Reviews of affordable whiskies with some entertaining tales along the way…
In this concluding part of my series focussing on independent bottler, Lady of the Glen, I’ll be sampling a single malt from Ardmore, a whisky distillery in the Highlands of Scotland. Lady of the Glen specialises in applying unusual and creative finishes to the whiskies they source but on this occasion, the spirit has been allowed to take centre stage having been bottled straight from a refill barrel with minimal interference.
Ardmore was established in 1898 by Adam Teacher, son of William Teacher of the Teacher’s blended Scotch brand. For much of its life, the distillery produced whisky for blends but there is a small range of single malts available as well. With most being bottled at low strength, however, independents like Lady of the Glen generally offer up the best versions of Ardmore.
The whisky was distilled in 2009 and bottled in 2023 at 58.2%.
For part one of this series visit here
For part two of this series visit here
For part three of this series visit here
For part four of this series visit here
Lady of the Glen Ardmore 13-year-old
*Full disclosure: the sample featured in this review was sent to me free of charge. As always I will strive to give an honest opinion on the quality of the dram and the value for money it represents.
Smell: Unusually for Ardmore, I didn’t pick up any smoke at first. Lots of grassy, creamy malt with oatcake and digestive biscuit notes. Heather honey. Grist and flour. Also green apples and lemons. Touch of pear as well. Finally, after an age in the glass, I picked up a gentle wisp of smoke. It’s very subtle at first but takes on greater prominence over time.
Taste: Again it’s the barley and biscuit notes that arrive first with caramel and honey and some light citrus notes with vanilla and soft oak. Towards the back, there’s a touch of black pepper and subtle ashy smoke that arrives on the finish.
Thoughts: This seems lighter on the peat smoke than many other Ardmores I’ve encountered but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The refill barrel has given a fair bit to this with those creamy vanilla notes but it still feels like the character of the spirit that takes command – in fact, it’s the malt itself that seems to come through strongest at points. It makes for an enjoyably straight-forward dram although it perhaps lacks the wow factor of some of the other releases I’ve covered in this batch. Still, a quietly complex single malt that’s doing its thing without any bells and whistles – and there’s nothing at all wrong with that.
Price: £70. As I hinted at above, there are other drams in this release that would tempt me more than this Ardmore but it’s still a decent dram and I certainly wouldn’t be disappointed about owning one. The price seems fair for a 13-year-old single cask in current climes.
For more on Lady of the Glen: https://www.ladyoftheglen.com/