The nose opens with light, fragrant, aromatic peat smoke on sweeter notes – the additional maturation in port casks is definitely very noticeable here. Dark, red, sweet grapes with skin, rose wine, sweet grape juice, nectarines, plum distillate, Port. Vanilla from the american oak barrels is also still present, as is a hint of spices and a dry note. Oh, and as time goes on, there’s a floral perfume note, too… hmmmm, now where did that come from? Not too sweet, not too spicy, not too peaty, quite middle of the road, in a good way. The palate starts off lightly smoky and surprisingly light on the arrival. A light, hard to pick apart mixture of light, medium-dry port, grape juice with skin and bits, strawberries, cassis, a pureed tin of sweetened tropical fruits with a slight oaky touch in the background. Not as sweet as you might get the impression, though, there’s a dryness balancing everything out. The long finish is rich, slightly smoky and fruity-sweet (grape juice mixed with port) upon swallowing, mellowing down nicely.
Well, this ticks all the boxes for a nice daily dram – engaging, sweet but no cloyingly so, not too overwhelming, very quaffable. A very apparent Port finish (“half port casks” – whatever those might be…), turning the ex-bourbon matured dram into a light sweet-dry mixture of all kinds of fruits. Bottled at 46% and unchillfiltered is what we want to hear (but, according to whisky.de sadly with E150a). It was a sad moment last year when the classic and very well-received Ardmore Traditional Cask was discontinued, replaced by the “Legacy”, so it’s good to see a double-digit age-statement whisky for under 50€ appear on the shelves in times when age-statement releases seem to go away to be replaced by NAS bottlings…
(Nose: 85 Palate: 84 Finish: 86)
Thanks to The Ardmore and Steve @ The Whisky Wire for the sample as part of the tweet tasting!