Review No.31 – Ardnamurchan AD 09.20:01

The important issue first: Ard-na-murkan. That’s according to the youtube videos I dilligently watched, but it’s also written on the sustainable cardboard packaging that this whisky came in. This commitment to sustainability, from production to packaging, is at the forefront of Ardnamurchan’s ethos.

So, Scotland’s first green distillery. What does that actually entail? This may shock you, but I have no idea, so I’ve copied and pasted this explanation below:

Ardnamurchan is the first Scottish distillery to adopt the use of blockchain technology to provide an incorruptible ledger of its complete supply and production chain.

This ledger is available to the consumer by scanning the QR code on the bottle, and offers a fully transparent diary of each bottle’s field to bottle journey.

Due to its remote location, Ardnamurchan was built to develop and fully utilise a local circular economy.

The entire heat and power requirements are supplied by renewable sources within two miles of the distillery: hydro electricity from the river that also supplies its cooling water, and wood chip for its biomass boiler, delivered by tractor from nearby sustainable forestry.

Scotsman Food and Drink

Scanning the QR Code takes me to a page on their website with an impressive amount of information. Bottle number, Average hours of fermentation, cask types and numbers…cradle to grave, it’s all there. Even the names of the distillery operatives and the process they performed – mine was even bottled by Lewis Hamilton.

The distillery owners are also well-known. Adelphi are one of Scotland’s leading Independant Bottlers and know their way around cask selection when releasing their much-lauded and sought after whiskies – they have close to 30 years’ experience and regularly release an array of bottlings from a spectrum of distilleries, including the well-known and the rarely seen.

Recognizing the continued ascendency of Single Malt Whisky in 2007, they undertook the forward-thinking decision to build a distillery and release their own whiskies, with planning permission eventually granted in 2012 and the first building work beginning in 2013. Located in the Western Highlands, the distillery is on the Ardnamurchan peninsula – hence the name – which is the most westerly point of the UK mainland.

AD 09.20:01 is an even split of peated and unpeated spirit matured in a 65% / 35% mix of ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks.

Retailing at a very reasonable £46, bottled at 46.8% ABV, and with a healthy yield of 15,978 bottles (thank you, Blockchain technology), this was a well-received release which is now quite difficult to find. Days after release, it was selling on auction sites for £300, which is, frankly, fucking nuts.

A wispy copper colour in the bottle, it’s a lot paler once decanted in to the Glencairn. I let it rest for about 15 minutes – a wee bit of extra time to settle and open up. Good legs which coat the glass and quickly race back down the sides.

Nose: Zero peat for me, which is a wee bit of a surprise as I was expecting it to be noticeable – there’s no hints of a campfire or pipe tobacco. The sherry is there and is far more influential. Little on the nose to suggest this is a 5 – 6 YO whisky which is good. Honey and vanilla, fresh sweet porridge and baked apple turnovers. Nice and polite.

Palate: Slightly woody/oaty with faintly sweet honey that coats the mouth. Sponge and spices, including cinnamon and nutmeg. Wee bit of warmth and bite from a brandy-soaked Christmas pudding appears at the tail end.

Finish: A finish that beguiles – pleasantly longer than expected with flashes of white pepper.

An extremely well-balanced whisky that is an impressive showcase for Ardnamurchan and their future releases. Affordable, transparent, innovative, and tasty, it all bodes well for the future, and will only increase the interest and intrigue in their releases. Still not worth £300, though.

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