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1996 Ardmore 21 Year Old "Old Malt Cask" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)

SKU #1380518

Usually when we're offered old peated malt, it comes with some expected sticker shock. We've had great opportunities in previously offering some older peated stocks, in particular from Old Particular via the Bowmore Distillery. And while those whiskies are relatively affordable compared to other Islays on the market, they are by no means overtly undervalued. They're fairly priced, but still a stark premium above a regular Highlander. Right now, if we want to buy 12 year old Laphroaig in a private barrel we're paying upwards of £100 a bottle before importation costs. But a little distillery in the Highlands has been cranking out top notch peated malt for decades without many people taking any notice. Partly that's because the distillery doesn't do much marketing, always in the shadow of the big Islays in the portfolio namely Laphroaigh. And of course the Highland peaters have their own character and it's especially rare to see an old one like this, some might brush this cask off because of their experience with the younger distillery bottlings. How wrong you would be to ignore stunning example. The complexity achieved here is absolutely astonishing. Sadly countless people will nonetheless skip over our poor little Ardmore due to some preconceived notions or expectations. For those who have a bit of faith and don't want to overspend for Islay wonders, you may have found your whisky of the year. Few bottlings will deliver more pleasure for less than this buoyent little bounty.


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Price: $89.99
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Staff Image By: Jeffrey Jones | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 11/26/2018 | Send Email
A very delicious single malt. The nose is complex with delicate smoke dominating aromas. In the mouth it is soft, round and light to medium bodied. A nice kiss of sweetness helps add complexity. A steal at this price.

Staff Image By: Neal Fischer | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 11/26/2018 | Send Email
So. Much. Honey! Coming along with the beehive are notes of stone fruits and melted butter like in a freshly baked pie. Those familiar with Ardmore are used to a bit of peat in this old-school Highland malt; there's a little less smoke on this cask than with the standard bottling, but still enough to please long-time fans of the dram. The palate is good and salty, leathery, and dusted with white pepper. The medium-long finish is very drying and earthy.

Staff Image By: David Othenin-Girard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 11/20/2018 | Send Email
So my business acumen was challenged with this one. I really believed that we could have easily sold it for upwards of $130+ considering how few old peaters we get and the quality of this excellent cask, but when we saw the prices I just about lost my mind. Do I take advantage of the situation and make a bit of extra coin or just put our normal mark up on this one and let it fly. Ownership probably doesn't need to know that we could have easily made an extra $50 a bottle here and still had hundreds of happy customers, but I just couldn't bring myself to charge more. So now we've got one of the best values we'll ever see in peated malt and while it's not the big intense Islay that the Caol Ilas are, it offers depth and complexity way beyond the price point. The peat after two decades turns into a heady bouquet of smoked orange peel, granny smith apples, salted honey candy and exotic vanilla bean. On the palate, deep dry peat smoke (not acrid at all) warming and absolutely balanced. It reminds me of a cleaner Springbank. Shimmering and still with tons of freshness, the peat adds nuance, but is not the centerpiece. Instead, more sweet citrus, earthy malt, deep spice. Absolute balance is the key here. This might be the best value of the year.

Staff Image By: Andrew Whiteley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 11/13/2018 | Send Email
A slamming selection of 20+ year old malts this year offer incredible value. The Ardmore fits right in. The gentle woodsmoke like peat of Ardmore has melted into the background with the age of this cask. Golden fruit, golden grain, and golden color is the name of the game here. The beautiful fruity malt of Ardmore's long and clean fermentations rides high above the peat that has softened incredibly with age. At the time this cask was distilled Ardmore still coal fired their stills. This process, while extremely dangerous, does seem to yield a more rich and complex flavor due to hotspots on the still. It's so important in fact, that Ardmore build special kinked steam coils to replicate these hot spots when they moved to the safer method of heating the stills. This is a rare chance to grab a glass of whiskey history as only a tiny handful of distilleries still direct fire.

Additional Information:

Varietal:

Malt

Country:

Scotland

Alcohol Content (%): 49.7