I admit it. I’m an Ardmore fan. I like modest things, unshowy design, things that function perfectly without much fanfare. Dieter Rams pushes my buttons, the simplify of a basic punched steel bottle opener appeals, there is beauty in simple things. This is a simple thing. A whisky that can be ignored so easily, not because it is dull or boring but because we have forgot how to listen.
It’s an old bottle, straight out into the glass and it’s a muted affair, dull, damp repressed, cardboard. But like a chrysalis, things develop rather wonderfully. On the nose is delicate, chlorine, liquorice, toffee, preserved lemons, faintest whispers of peat fires and a dash of lychee syrup and peppermint. Mayberry a little mace and corn and a gentle malt note. This isn’t earth shattering. This is pleasant.
In the mouth initially I’m wishing for more but I’m being unfair. At 40% it’s just classic, basic malt. It’s easy to be underwhelmed by a standard bottling but we’re spoiled, the market has never been more dynamic or geared toward delivering bigger, more powerful, more potent drams. It’s good to take a breather, go back to simpler things. Rediscover your ability to taste flavours at 7 rather that 11. Soft, sweet, rounded, melting, gentle peat, palest wood ash, liquorice and a slight metallic tang. There’s caramel and oak holding it all together and it finishes with more pepper, ginger and wood than you think it should be able to muster. It may be whispering but it is hard t ignore.
So, a boring malt then, no fireworks, no clever finish, no exotic barrels. Nothing of note, move along. Leave things like this on the shelf and maybe, just maybe I’ll spot them and take them home and, in quiet moment, feel happy that I’m enjoying something that most people would never even know existed. Shhhh.