Ardnamurchan AD/02:16 CK.166 (Ralfy 1,000th Review) & Signatory Vintage Glenlivet 2007 16yo (Ralfy 1,000th Review)


We're excited to celebrate Ralfy's 1,000th whisky review by looking at two commemorative bottles released for the occasion. 

Ardnamurchan AD/02:16 CK.166 (Ralfy 1,000th Review)

Region: Highlands

ABV: 57.9%

Price: £89.00

Distilled in February 2016, this peated spirit matured in a first-fill American oak bourbon barrel, and was bottled in 2023 to commemorate Ralfy's 1000th review on his YouTube channel 'ralfydotcom'. Just 258 bottles were released.

Nose

The nose instantly evokes a Highland peat bog, complemented by a savoury note best described as dry roasted peanuts. Beyond this, a delightful sweetness emerges, think ice cream, caramel, and marshmallows. As it opens up with time and air, earth (dirt), fennel, characteristic Ardnamurchan citrus, tequila, verbena, iodine, maize, and corn become apparent. It’s easy to nose and we’re surprised by the ABV.

Palate

The palate reflects the nose, showcasing dirty, earthy peat alongside a medley of vanilla ice cream, honey, green apple, and dark chocolate sweetness. The mouthfeel is satisfying, and the alcohol is well-integrated, leading to a medium-length finish where both sweetness and peat lingers mixing with a warming pepper spice. Tasted blind, we wouldn’t have guessed Ardnamurchan, but are enjoying this nonetheless.

Nose (with water)

Adding water highlights the peat while diminishing some of the savouriness. We’re now noticing notes of Pom-Bear crisps, rice crackers, tobacco, flat Fanta, and a hint of leather. It’ll be down to personal preference whether you think the nose benefits from water. Personally, we like it more without water.

Palate (with water)

After dilution, dark chocolate and blood orange bitterness become more pronounced, along with an increased presence of fennel. The mouthfeel remains pleasing, and the finish is largely the same, though there’s now a little orange rind. The profile has become slightly sweeter, reminding us of Ardbeg's characteristic herbal notes, while the smokiness recedes. Our preference now leans towards enjoying it neat (at least on the palate).

Conclusion

Whether Ralfy selected this cask himself or the distillery made the choice for him, we can’t deny that is an absolute gem of a bottling.

Score: 8/10

Value

It's tough to find fault with the pricing, as it aligns with what the distillery typically charges for other single cask offerings.


Signatory Vintage Glenlivet 2007 16yo (Ralfy 1,000th Review)

Region: Speyside

ABV: 65.7%

Price: £120.00

Distilled on the 27th of March 2007 and bottled on the 9th of May 2023, this whisky was matured in a first-fill oloroso sherry hogshead, cask number #900158, yielding an outturn of 288 bottles. Like the Ardnamurchan, this was bottled to commemorate Ralfy's 1000th review.

Nose

Again, there are lots of traditional sherry notes: Christmas pudding, raisins, sultanas, etc. It’s fair to say the cask has overpowered the distillery character, but we’re not complaining. The finish might be a bit short and a touch spicy, but honestly, it’s surprisingly well-balanced for something that’s 65.7% ABV. Returning to it, we find notes of candied orange, sugared ginger, maple syrup, and nutmeg, followed by a hint of chilli spice.

Palate

The palate is somewhat thin, featuring ginger and cinnamon spice, along with some toffee. There's a hint of blood orange juice bitterness, along with some cigarette ash The finish is of a good length, but it's mostly just the spice that lingers. Notes of chocolate coins and lemon juice are also noticeable. Overall, we’re find it rather simple.

Nose (with water)

Reduced there’s even more treacle, and toffee, and a distinct cinnamon bun note has appeared but really not much else has changed.

Palate (with water)

Similar to the nose, we're not finding much change in the palate. It still possesses a good mouthfeel, though it remains a little short on the finish. However, we are finding the spice to be slightly better balanced now.

Conclusion

We'd be lying if we called this whisky complex; it's not. It's simply a monster of a sherry bomb. But who says everything in life needs to be complicated? Sometimes, it’s nice just to enjoy the simple things.

Score: 7.5/10

Value

It's not cheap at £120, but in today's market, a Sherry bomb Glenlivet at this price isn't a bad deal.

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  • 10 - Perfection. One in a million
  • 9 - Outstanding. Exceptional whisky.
  • 8 - Great. Would seek this out.
  • 7 - Good. Quality whisky.
  • 6 - Above average. Happy to have a dram.
  • 5 - Average. Drinkable whisky.
  • 4 - Below average. Passable.
  • 3 - Flawed. Noticeable negatives.
  • 2 - Defective. Significant faults.
  • 1 - Offensive. Pour it out.

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