Ardnamurchan. No, I didn’t just use voice-to-text and crunch into a chip while calling a scaly animal. That’s a new Highland distillery, owned by Adelphi. They make a peated and unpeated whisky and opened in the far off time of 2014.
It’s a bit odd reviewing a distillery that’s just starting out. We don’t know what it’ll taste like yet. We don’t know what casks it mixes well with. All we can figure out is how the spirit tastes and build from there.
Enter Ardnamurchan Limited Release No. 01 2016 Adelphi, a short, easy to pronounce sentence of a name. This is an 18-month-old spirit (can’t be whisky yet) that was finished for the last three months in ex-PX first-fill sherry butts. It also was aged in ex-Oloroso casks too, and there may be octaves involved too. Oh, and it’s a mix of the peated and unpeated spirit.
And I keep seeing the number 29 thrown around, though not in an official capacity.
Suffice to say, we’re drinking this to be the first on the ground. But how does it taste? Let’s start building, shall we?
Price: € 350
Cask Type: First-fill Ex-Oloroso & Pedro Ximenez Sherry Octaves
Number of bottles: 2,500
Colour: 5Y 5/8
Nose: Brown sugar, alcohol, strawberry
I’m not going to say the nose is more than you’re expecting. The sherry is doing some heavy lifting. That said, there’s certainly harsher descriptions I’ve written about a young spirit drink or five. This at least has some brown sugar beyond the sherry strawberry note. That’s… something.
Taste: Peach funk, floral, grass, cherry, honey
Well slap me five times and call me Bruce. Now that my kink is done, let’s talk about the whisky.
Surprisingly developed given a young age. Yes, it’s peach/grass alcohol, and again carried by the sherry, but I was ready to have to hold my nose. This isn’t a hold-your-nose drink.
Finish: Caramel, black pepper, banana funk, wheat
Finish is… again surprisingly more than just spirit and some wet cask residue (which is what I was expecting, given history). It has a funkiness to it that I love. The rest is raw spirit elements but not raw to the point of too bad.
Conclusion: This shouldn’t taste as good as it does. Seriously. These things are meant to sit there and be a dust collector. Not something that I’d actually drink. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a super whisky or something. The nose is as simple as you’d expect.
But there’re little rough edges, it feels like someone tried hard to make this drinkable, and I’m impressed. If this distillery puts this type of work in for all future releases, they’ll both be quite nice and probably have to charge an arm and a leg. But you’ll get some pretty frickin sweet whisky for those limbs.
Scotch review #1188, Highland review #200, Whisky Network review #1830