Ardmore 18yo 1992/2011 (46%, Mo Ór, Bourbon Hogshead #5013, 286 bottles)

Three months ago, I reviewed two Ardmore’s, and was very pleasantly surprised, not to mention impressed. At a certain moment I even called it the present day’s Brora, or something of that nature. First a 1992 bottled by Domiek Bouckaert a.k.a. The Whiskyman, that scored a nice 89 points, and second a 1993 by the omnipresent Gordon & MacPhail. G&M’s version still got a very nice 87 points. Both malts were available for (much) less than 100 Euro’s, and that’s a steal in today’s feverish market. Today after a week’s absence, let’s have a go at this 1992 bottled by Mo Ór. Let’s hope it will do as well as the other 1992.

Color: White wine.

Nose: Nice, fresh acidic and aromatic lemon, but it has a lot more going for it. The wood comes across as pretty sweet with lot’s of vanilla. A storm of fresh air, as I said, very fresh and quite clean. Barley. I remember the other Ardmore’s as more dirty versions of Ardmore. I can hardly detect any peat in this and the smoke does need some time to manifest itself. Perfumy it is and slightly buttery (hot butter). Actually this is a lovely whisky on the nose. Not very complex, but it does have a well-balanced nose.

Taste: Hmm, licorice, clay and the (earthy) grains from the nose return. I expected a bit more of an attack, but it stays a bit back. Well don’t underestimate the smoke now! That’s here in abundance, but there isn’t a lot more coming from this. I guess this one was quite clean and lovable from the start, but I feel the reduction to 46% ABV didn’t benefit the Whisky this time. It has a late and mild fruitiness to it, pineapple and the fatty, sweetish smokiness is quite nice. Still as with the nose, the palate is undemanding and of average balance. The finish is of medium length.

This time around, the cask didn’t do much for the whisky, probably second or third refill considering the color and age. Still a well-earned…

Points: 84


Ardmore 17yo 1993/2010 (56.2%, Gordon & MacPhail, Reserve, First Fill Bourbon Barrel #5747, 244 bottles)

Let’s do another Ardmore and compare it to the day before yesterday’s offering by The Whiskyman. We all know that 1992 is somewhat of a good vintage for Ardmore. So let’s see what happened in the distillery a year later. This 1993 was bottled by Gordon & MacPhail and they were so kind to do that for Van Wees of The Netherlands.

Color: Gold

Nose: The same meaty, slightly peaty nose as The Whiskyman’s offering. Nice soap with green apples and other fruits. Leather. Dryer and more powdery. A little more wood too.

Taste: Great fruity sweet start, more ashy. Somewhat less complex and a tad more sourness from the wood. Same kind of peat. The peat itself is more chewy and more farmy. Toffee. Some mint in this one too. Rare black fruits in the drier and warming finish, but overall, a little less impressive than yesterday’s Ardmore.

This is an Ardmore, no doubt about it. Just nose it and you’ll smell the family resemblance to The Ardmore bottled by the Whiskyman. It’s from another year, but the nose is quite similar. In the taste department it’s a bit less balanced, but still has a lot going for it. I’m always a sucker for those black fruits in the finish. Like old style Bowmore for instance.

These 90’s Ardmore’s seem to me to be the Brora’s of the modern age. Great stuff. Recommended. I definitively have to look into Ardmore some more. So hopefully to be continued.

Points: 87

Ardmore ‘Peat fighting man’ 20yo 1992/2012 (49.9%, The Whiskyman, 146 bottles)

Dominiek Bouckaert is known for being the billionth ICT guy that does something in whisky. When I started with whisky I was an ICT guy myself and of course was introduced to the stuff by another ICT guy. In fact I was introduced to Whisky by two of them. One was partial to Laphroaig (eventually my first self bought Single Malt), and the other was more into Talisker (I’m something of a Talisker-collector now).

Besides ICT, Dominiek took it upon himself to dabble a bit with distribution of the Malts of Scotland (A german bottler) and play a bit with Luc Timmermans doing their Hand Written Labels. and last but not least, Dominiek has his own label now. The Whiskyman. Nice psychedelic colorful labels with a wink, wink, nudge, nudge to music. Beatles and Stones to start with, and this is an example of the latter called peat fighting man.

Color: White wine

Nose: Sweet, citrussy and malty, but this time with depth. Fishy, salty peat, lemon and wet grass. Given some time, the lemons are replaced by oranges. Fresh. Smoke, soap and latex paint. Ultra clean wood and hay. All elements fit nicely together. Very bold statement. From the name Dominiek gave to this Whisky, I would have expected some kind of peat attack, but far from it. The peat is there, but fits in rather well instead of singing the lead. A bit like how Charlie Watts fits in the Stones.

Taste: Sweet with a lot of liquorice. Again, not in your face peat, but nice warming peat. It’s not quite farmy, but it has an organic quality to it. Toffee, tea and clean wood again. Fruity. Lots going on here. Nice, very nice.

Very well-balanced malt. Great find, well done Dominiek. Now we want another one!

Points: 89

Thanks go out to Jack for handing me this sample.