Some folk just have an natural affinity for writing; to dive right in, to tie an experience to their insightful opinion, to then bring it all together in a flourish at the end. I, however, cannot, so instead I’m going to list some of the stuff I wanted as a kid but missed out on:
– A SNES
– Nigeria top circa World Cup 1994
– Going abroad for school activities week (furthest I got from Aberdeen was canyoning doon Royal Deeside – I was a bit of a rapscallion)
– Fila Kevlar Football Boots
– an All Saints ticket for the Music Hall
This isn’t to give off the impression that I had an unhappy childhood – far from it. I like to think that as a child, missing out on fitba taps and gaming consoles would mean later in life I would appreciate the wee moments. So, I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity of reviewing this new Single Cask release from one of Scotland’s new distilleries, Ardnamurchan. With only 696 released worldwide, it’s rarer than rocking horse jobby and, sadly, as is the way in today’s whisky world, presumably the bulk of the output will disappear in to collections and the secondary market. Ho hum.
To try and ensure that some of these releases get opened, I was only sold this bottle on the agreement that I would open it. There’s something to be said about a Gentleman’s Agreement, a mutual trust between shop and customer that tries to ensure allocations go to those that will open, share, and enjoy. There is an impetus on the shop to avoid seeing bottles end up on the secondary market, and there is impetus on the customer to honour their word and enjoy a highly sought-after whisky.
Recently I reviewed Ardnamurchan Distillery’s first single malt release, AD/09.20:01 (which I need to update – I couldn’t pick up much peat first time round, but on my return to the bottle it is now certainly more noticeable – usually the peat softens halfway down, but I found the opposite), so being able to buy their first ever single cask release was too good an opportunity to pass up.
With a name like a Tesco product code, this release was distilled in July 2015 and bottled in late 2020. The spirit is 5 Years Old with a cask strength ABV of 58.5% and hailing from Cask # 335 which was a peated refill Oloroso Sherry Puncheon. It’s bottle number 482/696. I picked it up for £99.00 from Aberdeen Whisky Shop.
Rested in a Glencairn for 20 minutes. There’s a lovely deep hue to the whisky, akin to a dark rose gold.
Nose: Faint whiffs of the coal bunker from my Granny’s hoose and teasing hints of tobacco, followed by a lovely dark jam (raspberries / blackcurrants). A slight tang like cranberries and the sweet sharpness of balsamic vinegar. The peat is present too and carries a fresh earthiness throughout.
Palate: Rich red fruits burst and marry with the peatiness. Lots of fresh mixed berry notes. It isn’t overwhelming nor does the relatively young spirit take centre stage – I could easily see myself mistaking this for something a bit older if i didn’t know it was only 5 YO. There’s a subtle sweet/salt note that floats about in the background with a hint of cracked black pepper.
Finish: Blackcurrants with a lingering warmth which is the only real indicator of the spirit’s youthfulness. Delightful light smoke envelops it all and sees it through to a gentle and medium finish.
Well done, Ardnamurchan. This is a fantastic whisky and bodes extremely well for future releases. I was excited to try and it’s so much better than what I was expecting – I am wracking my brains, nose, and palate for a negative, but there isn’t one. Even the bottle design and aesthetics are brilliant.
I have to admit that, unlike my teenage years and missing out on that All Saints gig, I am fortunate that Nick, who owns Aberdeen Whisky Shop, has been kind to me and, if he is able to, will sometimes let me purchase hard-to-find bottles and new releases on the provision I open them. In turn, it’s been fun for me to try and share the whisky I am fortunate to own and allow others the chance to enjoy. This release will be no different!
So, if you liked my review, then keep your eyes peeled on my twitter – there’ll be an Ardnamurchan Single Cask sample or two up for grabs soon…