Ardnamurchan is a new distillery that was built by Adelphi, a long-standing independent bottler that finally made the choice to enter the Scotch whisky sector in its totality. In the autumn of 2017, we had the opportunity to sample the single malts that were produced by Ardnamurchan. On account of the fact that it is situated so far away from the western shore of the Scottish Highlands, one may get the impression that they are attempting to conceal its whereabouts from the rest of us. The distillery produces both peated and unpeated spirit, and the alcohol is aged in a combination of European oak, ex-bourbon, and ex-sherry barrels during the maturation process. It was not just once, but twice that Chris had the opportunity to try their flagship product, AD Small Batch, and both times, he was completely taken away by the experience. I was given the opportunity to listen to samples of three unique releases, one of which was exclusive to the United States of America. Here are some ideas to consider.
Bottling of Ardnamurchan, including the ArdnAmerica Tour
This limited release of just 900 bottles was prepared exclusively for the American market (which is why the name was selected), and it featured both peated and unpeated spirit that was up to six years old and aged in a blend of oloroso and Pedro Ximenez. The name was chosen since it was produced specifically for the American market. Similar to the flagship, the mix of peated and unpeated spirit is a fantastic blend of barley sugar and smoke from a campfire, which serves as the foundation for the distinctive aroma. This is also the case with the flagship. The meal is finished off with a fantastic top dressing that is made out of black raisins, berry compote, sugared almonds, and old leather. This dressing gives the dish even more richness and depth than it already had. The scent of fruit is quite strong on the tongue, beginning with a smooth flow of sweet figs and plump raisins, and then gradually becoming a shade lighter across the palate with traces of strawberry jam. This is the beginning of the fruit aroma. It is not only pleasantly spicy and warming, but it also has a taste that is reminiscent of salty smoke and ash, which gives the impression that it was originally derived from the seashore. Cranberry, moist tobacco, and clove are all aspects that can be found in the finish, which is rather substantial and causes the tongue to move. A young single malt that is really breathtaking.
The release of the Ardnamurchan Madeira Cask
Unpeated spirit that has been matured for five years in barrels that were previously used for bourbon and then finished in Madeira casks for a year. Honey syrup, crisp malts, and custard are some of the characteristics that are brought out by the absence of smoke in this Ardnamurchan, which results in a completely new aroma profile. The sherry is expertly balanced, bringing layers of dried orange peel, bright red berries, and a hint of nuttiness to the overall flavour spectrum. From the beginning, there are strong hints of sesame candies, currants and raw honey on the palate. After that, there is a hint of green apple, lemon oil and golden raisin on the midpalate. The nose leads one to believe that the palate is much more refined than it actually is. It has a gritty texture and a balanced warmth that surges ever so slightly into a lingering finish that is reminiscent of lemon tarts and Linzer biscuits. It is vibrant. Exciting and interesting to see.
The release of Ardnamurchan Paul Launois
The spirit was matured in ex-bourbon barrels, but this time it was completed in barrique casks from Champagne maker Paul Launois. Once again, it was completely unpeated. According to what I have gathered from the internet, this is one of at least three more Paul Launois Champagne releases that are not yet accessible in the United States. The aroma is sophisticated and opulent, with notes of barley sugar, white peach, and yeast breads flavoured with butter. A dash of lemon zest adds a little bit of brightness to the situation, and when it opens out in the glass, it nearly looks like pineapple. It begins with notes of golden raisins and lemon merengue, and as it progresses across the tongue, it becomes sweeter and more juicy, almost like peaches that have been canned. The palate is oily and full of flavour. There is a substantial brown butter character that remains into the finish with fading notes of green apple and pear sweets. It is balanced with a cuddling warmth, and there is also a generous amount of brown butter. A young single malt that is genuinely remarkable in its own right.