Ardmore 30 year old, 53.7%

Price: $450 Issue: Fall 2009 Reviewer: John Hansell

The oldest Ardmore I have tasted. Smartly bottled at cask strength and not chill-filtered. (The entry level Ardmore “Traditional” is at the opposite end of the age spectrum, tasting quite youthful.) My initial concern with this 30 year old was: would the wood dominate the lovely floral, smoky notes I enjoy so much with Ardmore? The wood is certainly present, but the smoke still comes through. There's a gently layered sweetness that complements the smoke (toffee, deep caramel, subtle honey), licorice root, bourbon barrel char, coffee grounds, and high cocoa chocolate, with subtle dried citrus and a suggestion of floral soap. Dry finish, with more bourbon barrel char and licorice root. Considering that Ardmore has historically been a blending malt, most of the stocks right now are much younger. This is a rare treat. It's a wee bit thin in body and a little on the dry side from 30 years on wood for me to rate it in the mid 90s, but it's still a very enjoyable whisky.