PHOTO BY WILLIAM M. DOWD
Ardmore Traditional Cask, a limited quantity Highland malt whisky, has just gone on sale in the U.S., timed very nicely for the annual Tartan Week festivities of Scots-Americans and those who align with them.
It was introduced just last year in the U.K. and some duty free shops. Its U.S. introduction has been limited to 3,000 cases, with 750ml bottles selling for a suggested retail price of $45-$50.
This offering from Beam Global Spirits & Wine is a double-matured single malt. It first is matured in used bourbon barrels of American white oak, and its second maturation in handmade 110-liter quarter casks which harken back to the type used two centuries ago.
Ardmore's distillers, led by master distiller Robert Hicks, say quarter cask maturation "allows much greater contact between the maturing spirit and the oak of the cask.
"When combined with the full, but relatively light peating of Ardmore, this creates an extraordinary malt whisky that has a well-rounded flavor, a unique peat-smoke richness softened by a delicate sweetness."
(See my "Tasting Notes" view on the quality of the offering.)
Traditional Cask is non-chill filtered and bottled at 46% abv (92 proof).
Ardmore is a descendant of the original Teacher's line. It was created in 1898 by Adam Teacher, son of William teacher whose original line now lives on in the blended Teacher's Highland Cream.
Ardmore uses locally grown barley and its characteristic peaty flavor comes from the peating levels used in the malting process. Ardmore typically peats its malts to between 12 to 14 parts per million, which is classified as "light" or "medium" peating.
Hicks, incidentally, was the first recipient of Distiller of the Year honors from the International Spirits Challenge in 1998, won it again in '98 and '03, and in 2006 was presented the Lifetime Achievement Award.
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