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Ardmore SMWS 66.36 - Milano Salami and a Tropical Fruit Kebab

Happy MotherSMWS Day Part 1 of 5

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@talexanderReview by @talexander

11th May 2015


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Yesterday I had the great fortune to attend an SMWS tasting here in Toronto. There was Balmenach, Bladnoch, Glen Moray, Glengoyne, Cooley, Ardbeg and Laphroaig - an embarrassment of riches. So today being Mother's Day - and Happy Mother's Day! - I thought I'd celebrate by digging out some old SMWS samples I never got around to writing up. And no, my mum wouldn't like these - she's a cheap white wine girl.

Ardmore is the backbone of Teacher's Highland Cream (a solid daily dram). The brand actually pre-dates the malt - Adam Teacher built Ardmore in 1898 to keep up with demand. For many years it was known as the smokiest Speyside malt, and was mostly used for blending. In 2005 it became part of Fortune Brands.

This was distilled on July 17 2002 and poured into a refill sherry butt. 10 yeas later it yielded 702 bottles.

The colour is a very dark copper. On the nose - big, fat and meaty. BBQ chicken sauce, chili chocolate, dark shoe polish, all with a trace of wood smoke. In fact, this is very BBQ smoky saucy. There is some sage in there. Damp moss. Rich and earthy, but with a very slight sulphur off-note. Water removes the wood smoke, unfortunately.

On the palate the BBQ sauce is tamed. Beyond the alcohol heat there is, well, salami, rum raisin, pipe tobacco and more wood smoke. Tawny port. Dark, worn leather. Smoked paprika. Hint of sulphur, but very meaty and satisfying. Where water reduces the nose, it improves the palate with more smoke and spice.

The finish is, again, meaty and rich, with papaya, grape leaves and bitter dark chocolate. If you want a sherry monster, you got a sherry monster. Myself, I'm iffy on my big sherried whiskies; this one has qualities that I like (meat, earth) and qualities that I don't like (burnt matchstick). Might go well with a cigar, though?

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Robert99 commented

@talexander Would you tell me in what other whiskies you would find that BBQ sauce because I am not sure to follow. I also think I would like.it more than you do. And by the way another very good review.

5 years ago 0

talexander commented

I found that particular note rather unique - I imagine it comes from whatever type of sherry the cask previously held. Having said that, I don't think I've ever had an Ardmore before so I'm not familiar with that spirit.

I've noticed similar notes of meat/salami/BBQ from Mortlach, some GlenDronach, older Glenfarclas and especially Karuizawa.

Glad you enjoyed the review - thanks!

5 years ago 0

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