Two Ardnamurchan's to start the week, the first release of what we assume will be a yearly Madeira cask finish, along with the oldest peated & sherried IB released thus far.
Ardnamurchan AD/10:22 Madeira Cask
This was made from unpeated spirit that was initially matured in ex-bourbon casks before being finished in 250 litre Madeira hogsheads. Only 5,781 bottles were released.
Initially we're finding a mixture of strawberry preserve and the biscuit base from a cheesecake.. speaking of cheesecake we're finding a creaminess coming through too. There's an earthiness that we're getting that's balancing the sweeter red berries and blackcurrants. Air reveals a touch of yeast and younger spirit notes, orange zest, a little coconut and a bit of rum funk on the end of the nose. The alcohol is a bit punchy but the other aromas are still able to come through clearly.
Sour cherries, chocolate coated rice krispies, wet soil, pineapple, a hint of salt and some brown sugar. The mouthfeel is reasonable, a little thin for us but not offensively so. The finish has a good length with fresh citrus and a little mint chocolate at the end. Giving it some air, we're finding more rum-like flavours, molasses, tropical fruits, toasted coconut. It still feels a little young, the alcohol is a bit too spicy but the flavours are punchy enough to balance this out.
Nose (with water)
The reduced nose gives off more woodiness, alongside dark chocolate, roasted hazelnuts, mint leaves and a little vanilla essence. It's definitely deeper and richer now, with a loss of some of the fresher, lighter fruit notes.
Palate (with water)
Water has really mellowed the initial spice and alcohol punch, and we're finding more of a ginger-forward spice now as the dram develops. Similar to the reduced nose it's deeper and richer, but a little more bitter, with a little bit of rubber coming through too. We'd recommend shying away from water to keep some of the fruitier notes that we enjoyed.
A well made whisky where we can see that the Madeira cask finish has really impacted the end result. It's a touch young and spicy with a thinner texture than we'd like, but there are bold aromas and flavours that balance this out somewhat. Maybe it could do with a few more years to mellow the alcohol would be good, but we'd have another dram.
Little Brown Dog Ardnamurchan 2015
This release was distilled in 2015 using peated malt, then laid to rest for 7 years in a refill oloroso hogshead. Only 300 bottles were released.
Maple syrup, tobacco smoke, plums, peanut brittle and plump sultanas. It's very sherry forward for a refill hogshead, but we're not complaining. There's a salty, savouriness that comes through the longer you nose it, alongside some raspberry ripple ice cream, smouldering campfire and red currants.
The palate begins with strawberry and cream, but moves quickly into earthy cigar smoke. There's some burnt spices coming through, it's like they've been taken slightly too far during toasting. There's also a touch of liquorice, charcoal, cinnamon and demerara sugar. Giving it some time, we're finding more chocolate and coffee flavours, alongside some of that peanut brittle from the nose. It's got a good mouthfeel and good length finish, although it's a little bitter towards the end.
Nose (with water)
Ooft, the smoke has appeared on the nose, overpowering a lot of the dried fruits we got before. If you get your nose deep into the glass, the maple syrup, plums and sultanas are still there though. Still feels well balanced overall.
Palate (with water)
Dark chocolate, more salted peanuts, spent coffee grounds, truffles (the sweet kind), a little red wine tannin too. The smoke hasn't increased in the same was as it has on the nose, but there's definitely richer, earthier flavours dominating now.
A well rounded mix of sherry and peat on the nose, following into a punchy, earthy peat-monster on the palate. Really quite impressive for the age, and the alcohol doesn't overpower the other flavours and aromas. Drier than some other peated sherry bottlings, but still really good. You wouldn't go wrong if you manage to pick up a bottle around RRP.
- 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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