We always appreciate when distilleries release a cask strength OB, so we were excited by Ardnamurchan's newest release. We've also got an IB release from Thompson Bros to compare.
Ardnamurchan Cask Strength 2022
This release was created by combining 40 peated bourbon barrels, and 10 unpeated bourbon barrels. 12,886 bottles were released.
We usually get citrus notes from Ardnamurchan and while they are here in the form of lemon verbena, they’re sitting in the background and not as dominant as we’d usually find. There’s also some caramel syrup, orange peel, sea salt and spicy peppers. This isn’t giving off huge amounts of smoke. Finally, we’re also finding a hint of malt / yeast here that gives away the age.
The palate matches the nose here as we’re immediately getting caramel, lemon juice and then the spicy chilli pepper heat. Giving it a little air and we’re also getting some ginger stem biscuits and a little earthy peat. This really doesn’t taste like it’s 58.7%. It’s is very smooth with a really good mouthfeel. Finally we’re getting a faint hint of polo mints in the background.
Nose (with water)
On the reduced nose we’re getting a little more of the bourbon cask influence in the form of some cream, honey and vanilla essence. With water this has the caramel note and gained a musty / saltiness.
Palate (with water)
The musty / saltiness from the nose is now on the palate. Other than that the dilution hasn’t made much of a difference to the palate. The heat has reduced somewhat, and the sweeter notes are dulled slightly, but it’s much the same. Personally, we wouldn’t suggest adding water to this.
This isn’t our favourite Ardnamurchan, but then the distillery has set itself a very high bar and we've had some cracking IB releases. While this is nothing overly complex it’s still an enjoyable dram and good value compared to other new distilleries releases.
Thompson Bros Ardnamurchan 2015 6yo
Price: £7.00 per 30ml sample
This ones a bit of a mystery it’s a peated bourbon cask that’s available from the Artisan Wishaw, and doesn’t seem to have been released for sale online anywhere. If you do know anything more about this let us know in the comments.
Custard filled doughnuts, freshly zested lemons, light peat smoke combining nicely with the sweet vanilla aromas from the bourbon cask. It’s quite bready, sweet brioche and a little toffee too. The alcohol is noticeable but really well integrated with the other aromas, and overall it’s light, sweet and citrus forward.
More smoke forward on the palate, we’re getting grilled lemon now with a little bit of black pepper spice. It’s still got heaps of sweetness, more of that vanilla custard and baked goods from a French patisserie. The alcohol shows itself quite prominently, maybe a little too hot for the lighter palate. The finish has a good length with more citrus and peppery spice, as well as a touch of drying oak.
Nose (with water)
There’s now less citrus than before, but it’s creamier and butterier. The smoke has receded somewhat, it’s still there but it’s more of a charred oak aroma.. in fact it’s a lot woodier in general. We’re also getting some nuts now, candied pecans and hazelnut praline.
Palate (with water)
It’s become spicer, we’re getting ginger, orange, cinnamon, toasty oak flavours with a warming sensation as you swallow. The mid palate is a little flat now, you skip straight to the finish which is, again, spicer and richer, and also slightly more bitter.
Without the addition of water, this is quintessential Ardnamurchan. Lots of nice citrus and vanilla notes on the nose and palate with good balance and alcohol integration. With the addition of water, it falls apart for us a bit, yet is still palatable. We’d grab another dram.
We’ve reviewed a fair few Ardnamurchan bottlings now and because our scale takes in price you’ll find several of these have been given the same score. If you’re interested the below is a list of the bottles in order of preference ignoring price.
- Ardnamurchan AD/04:21 Paul Launois
- Ardnamurchan Royal Mile Whiskies Single Cask
- Ardnamurchan Cask Strength 2022
- Ardnamurchan AD/07.21:05 Single Malt
- Ardnamurchan North Star Spirits 5yo
- Thompson Bros Ardnamurchan 2015 6yo
- Ardnamurchan 2015 6 Year Old Adelphi RAF Benevolent Fund
- 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.
Interested in trying drams like these? We've created the Two Whisky Bros Dram Club to help you get access to high quality, rare whisky by the dram.