Today we'll be examining a single malt Scotch forging its own path, Ardmore Single Malt Highland Scotch. Interestingly and ironically, despite my previous declaration, Ardmore's distillery was created by Teacher's to ensure malt whisky was available for their flagship product, Teacher's Highland Cream. While Teacher's name and style may cause one to envisage supple light blended spirits, Ardmore on its own is no such thing. Let's examine why shall we?
First things first, Ardmore is unabashedly and unapologetically smoky on the nose. Not just peaty and astringent like the only other Scottish style close to it, Islay, no it is quite smoky from the wood too. The reason for this is undoubtedly due the "traditional" unspent quarter casks being used. One thing to note is that these are the same casks used by many local craft distillers here in Houston. Notes of oak, sherry, maple, honey, anise, wood pulp, and grape round out the aroma.
The first sip is where all these notes cease to be individual components, and instead meld into one singular, delightful, pungent whisky. This particular singular entity resembles a finely and slowly nurtured smoked Texas brisket. Sure you still have notes of the malt and sweetness in the background, but they are not prominent enough to be notable on their own. This whisky isn't about individuality in the symphony of flavor hints present. This whisky is about monstrous Scotch flavor. In doing away with those conventions, this whisky has become singular amongst its peers on the market.
I picked up a bottle for around 30 bucks at SBJ Liquor in Tomball/Spring, TX at 21212 Kuykendahl Rd. You can also find it for around the same price at your local area Spec's Wine, Spirits, and Finer Foods for around the same price.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Suggested Cigar Pairing: Any dark wrapped maduro should pair fine.