Sunday, August 23, 2009

for peat's sake

I wasn't expecting to be doing another one of these quite so soon, but we were up at my parents' place at the weekend for a bit of a family get-together so I thought I'd get a bottle to take along, since both my father and my brother-in-law are occasional whisky drinkers. After a rigorous selection process I ended up buying a bottle of Ardmore from Sainsbury's, partly because it looked quite interesting, and partly because it was going for a bargain £19.99 a bottle.

I won't rehash the background blurb from my previous post, but basically Ardmore is a Highland whisky - the distillery's output was previously devoted almost entirely to going into Teacher's blended whisky, of which it is a major constituent (and by whom the distillery is owned), but they do now produce a single malt as well. What makes it unusual is that it is quite heavily peated, which most Highland malts aren't. Basically what you use to dry the malted barley has an influence on the eventual taste of the whisky, and peat in particular imparts a strong taste because of the phenol compounds it contains.

Anyway, we had a bit of a tasting session, and you can certainly taste the peat - I'm not a huge fan of the overpoweringly peaty/smoky stuff like the Islay malts, but this has a nice cakey sweetness which counteracts it. You still get a bit of zingy peat action on the tongue, though, which the relatively high ABV (46%) probably contributes to as well. It's a bit more of a rugged unkempt hairy outdoorsy sort of whisky than the previous ones, particularly the Glenmorangie which is very urbane and civilised, but I thought it was pretty good. Still about two-thirds of a bottle left, as well, which is nice.

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