Thanks to /u/ScotchGuy_TO for sharing a dram of this with me.
I’m a fan of Ardmore, and thankfully my ability to say I like something turning into worldwide popularity isn’t a thing.
So during the “end of year” whisky tasting, there were some extra whiskies that I had to take home, and this is one of them. Why? Because my tongue was blown out more than the candles at a professional yodeler’s 100th birthday.
So a few weeks later… or something, time has no meaning anymore… I decided to sit down.
Up first? Ardmore 14 2000 Exclusive Casks, an older Total Wine & More exclusive pick. Simple enough, right? Multiple casks, Ardmore, age statement, cask strength, and picked by a place that seems to have more than the sum of all wines.
Well, not quite: We don’t really know if it’s ex-bourbon or ex-sherry casks, or a mix. So let’s see how this tastes, shall we?
Vintage: May 2000
Cask type: Oak casks
Number of bottles: 517
Bottled for: Total Wine & More
Colour: 7.5Y 9/4
Nose: Blueberry, papaya syrup, cedar, charred watermelon, mud
No, I don’t expect people to have had papaya syrup, it’s just a really strong papaya and sugar note that I am having trouble explaining. I try and split these things out, but being on a permanent low calorie diet due to not being able to be a proper adult and not buying a ton of sweets means I’m at a loss here. So papaya syrup it is.
Fruitier than I expected. I’ve had some Ardmore whiskies that have more of a floral note, so it’s a nice change, though if you’re like me and expecting peat it may come as a surprise.
Taste: Anise/grassy, orange, balsamic vinegar, melon
More spice, and the fruit has gone to this mix of rich vinegar and orange and a simpler melon note. So still fruity, still not peated, but less earthy.
I guess the anise is the closest you’ll get to smoke, which I bring up because someone mentioned I don’t mention smoke enough when something is peated. Hope that helps you out.
Finish: Cloves, earth, funk, cedar
Spice and earth. Right off a cliff for consistency. If this was an essay, you’d be reading about Edo Japan and then get to the third paragraph and it’s one of my reviews. Sure, you may still enjoy it, but you weren’t reading about my genitalia and whisky at the moment, you were reading about Japan.
Spice, earth, simpler but not off putting.
Conclusion: If this was a SMWS release, it’d be called Dessert in a Nordic Forest and I’d be just as disappointed. Maybe disappointed isn’t the right word. I expected one thing and got another, but only half way. I’m sure German has a word for that and if I tried to spell it I’d break my keyboard.
I was expecting one thing and got another: I expected a slightly older Ardmore with unique flavours, but still rooted in peat. Instead we ended up with something that has that peat influence, but only marginally. The nose and taste were giving me “lightly peated” vibes and that’s fine. Then the finish tried something and it fell off.
So it’s hard to recommend this. Maybe if it’s cheap, or you can get a pour, or if you only like a bit of peat. It’s not bad, it’s just not complete, and the parts that range from fun to meh.
Scotch review #1547, Speyside review #438, Whisky Network review #2268