Whisky of the week: Ardmore Traditional Cask

Peat whiskies are cherished by the experienced whisky drinker for the complexity of their flavours but often for those new to our national drink they can prove a bit overwhelming on the palette.

Step forward Ardmore Traditional Cask which serves as an ideal stepping stone for those wishing to take the next step on their road to whisky enlightenment.

Ardmore Distillery lies on the main Aberdeen to Inverness railway line at Kennethmont and is a major component of Teacher’s Highland cream.

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It is a good character-packed whisky which is a pleasure to explore.

In a throw-back to an earlier era of whisky-distilling, there is no age declaration with bottling occuring when the spirit reaches optimum maturity.

A light whisky of 46% abv it has a fiery-peaty backbone which is tempered by an array of sweet flavours.

The nose has elements of sweet marzipan, smoky peat and a slight air of dampness.

Your first taste will unleash a spark of peat flavour which is almost charcoal-like in nature.

This initial peat sensation mellows towards the type of sweetness you would find in home-baked scones before elements of vanilla emerge as the spirit looses its intensity.

Add a drop of water and you have a completely different whisky.

The peat is still there in the background but the lighter shortbread- like notes are more prominent.

The production process of Ardmore Traditional Cask gives an insight into how it takes on some of the above flavours.

It is double matured first in ex-bourbon barrels before receiving a second maturation in hand-made quarter casks

This second maturation allows more contact between the developing spirit and the oak in the cask

Ardmore is the only malt whisky from the Highland Scotch whisky region to be fully peated, using malted barley that has been dried over peat fires to give a deep smoky aroma.

Traditionally associated with malts from Islay, mainland peated whiskies tend to be softer and more complex in flavour.

At around £28 it’s a very good buy and ideal for those looking to expand their palette or who simply want a character of a whisky on their shelf.