Two releases from Adelphi today, both containing spirit from their Ardnamurchan distillery.. one with an intriguing name and the other blended with Swedish spirit.
Adelphi Ardnagherkin 6yo
Nope, this is not new distillery that you’ve missed. It is in fact a cask of Ardnamurchan. So why the name “Ardnagherkin”? Well after tasting the cask the distillery decided that while it was just too “funky” to be used for any normal Ardnamurchan release, it was still interesting to try. This is 6yo peated spirit that was matured in an Ex-Glen Moray cask.
They weren’t lying.. it’s sour. Sour plums and pickle juice backed up with musty, wet wood and a hint of dried mushroom. There’s a fair bit of bourbon cask vanilla showing, fresh sea breeze and a whisp of smoke in the background. Going back after a little air, the smoke has intensified somewhat, bringing along a meatiness we didn’t detect before. The alcohol is definitely present on the nose, presenting itself as a tingly pepperiness.
Oh, it’s sour. It’s like sour patch kids doused in finely ground black pepper. It’s dry, oh so dry. There’s a lingering bitter tea leaf flavour that goes right through to the finish. There’s some dirty socks, sweat, more pepper that leaves a distinct tingling sensation on the tongue. We’ll be honest, we’re struggling to get through this dram, it’s really really not to our tastes. Maybe some water will bring sweetness or something less sour to the mix.
Nose (with water)
Pickled walnuts… We wonder how many different sour foods or drinks we could use to describe this whisky, but we’ll try to push past the acid. There’s a note of unwashed clothes that’s appeared, sweaty socks and just generally unpleasant foostiness.
Palate (with water)
Water has kept the pepper and acid but brought more bourbon wood to the mix. The oak is more present, but we’re still being assaulted by the pre-dilution flavours. We’re getting a little lemon sherbet now, but honestly we’ve had to pour it out.
We’ll preface this with saying that we’re big fans of Ardnamuchan and Adelphi in general, and think they produce/bottle great quality whisky 99% of the time. This is the 1% whisky. We don’t really know what to say other than it’s undrinkable to us. Water brings out a few more palatable notes, and the original unwatered nose is acceptable, but overall we’re going to have to score it a 2/10. We’d compare it to the infamous Valinch & Mallet Bruichladdich cask if you’ve ever heard of it, in terms of uniqueness and undrinkability.
Adelphi The Sandebud 6yo
This release is a blend of peated and unpeated malt from Ardnamurchan and High Coast distilleries. It’s named after Scottish lawyer-turned-merchant Colin Campbell (18686-1757). Campbell moved to Sweden in 1731 where he co-founded the Swedish East India Company, a trade body set up to compete with similar Dutch and British endeavours.
Lightly toasted white sugar, foam banana and lemon zest backed up by some earth and a fresh vanilla pod aroma. Going back we’re getting some toffee, Ribena and a mild fishiness too. There alcohol is there but it’s got a bit of balance, and doesn’t overpowering your senses.
Oh, more of those blackcurrants, slightly medicinal and reminiscent of Calpol. The age is showing, it’s a little rough initially, dry oak, liquorice, and the alcohol giving it a fair bite. We weren’t detecting any smoke on the nose, but we’re definitely getting some on the palate, perhaps smoked tea leaves… it’s got that tea-like bitterness along with a fruity sweetness afterwards. The mouthfeel is a little thin, slightly watery, but the finish holds a good length.
Nose (with water)
More earthiness appears, dried autumn leaves, malted barley, ginger juice, maybe a touch of turmeric and star anise too. It’s definitely more savoury now, with only a hint of sweeter, vanilla-led aromas from before.
Palate (with water)
There’s an Initial pepperiness, and alcohol bite/warmth, followed by a dried raspberry flavour with a touch of creaminess, reminding us of a vegan raspberry ripply ice cream.. when it doesn’t quite have the mouth feel you’d want from ice cream made from cows milk. It’s still got some of the smoked tea that leads into the finish.
Coming from just trying Ardnagherkin, this is a 11/10, but overall it’s a little simple and lacking complexity for us. The mouthfeel really lets it down, and the alcohol bite puts it out of balance at first sip. Water brings a little more depth but it’s not enough to make us want to go back for more.
- 10 - Perfection. A whisky that we’ll remember forever.
- 9 - Amazing. We’d pay through the nose for a bottle.
- 8 - Great. Pick this up at RRP.
- 7 - Good. Happy to have a dram or two but wouldn’t buy a bottle.
- 6 - Passable. Would accept a dram, but wouldn’t seek it out.
- 5 - Poor. Would drink if it was the only option.
- 4 - Bad. Maybe it can be saved by ginger beer?
- 3 - Awful. It can't be saved by ginger beer.
- 2 - Pour it out
- 1 - We’ve never tried a whisky rated this low and hopefully never will.
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