Murray McDavid – Ardmore 11

At the start of Summer, I visited a Trip to Whiskyland, a festival hosted by Peter a dear whisky buddy of mine. That’s where I ran into Jesse, at the High Spirits stand. High Spirits is the Dutch importer of several amazing brands and Jesse invited me over to the warehouse to sample (more than) a couple. To see if anything would fit the Explorers Pack. When I tasted the Ardmore 11 – bottled exclusively for The Netherlands by Murray McDavid – that decision was made in an instant.

Now I will admit to being a bit of a “peathead”, I love a thoroughly smoky dram. There’s only one thing that can paint a bigger smile on my whiskyloving face and that’s when it’s not just peaty, but the magnificent combination of Sweet and Peat! Ever since I first tried the Ardbeg Uigeadail I was in love. It was like the first time I found little chunks of salt in my chocolate bars. Sweet and savoury, I love it!

Now Ardmore can be a bit of a hit and miss for me. The distilleries core range never really seems to cut it for me. Independent bottled Ardmore is often amazing though. This one is a little extra special to me though, as it was finished in Murça Tawny Port Casks. I personally love a good Port Cask finish (though I know opinions can be divided on that) so I was looking forward to trying this dram. And when I did, I was in love!

Tasting Notes: Murray McDavid – Ardmore 11
Stats:

ABV: 55,2% (110,4 proof)

Age: 11 years old

Distillery: Ardmore

Bottled by: Murray McDavid

Cask: Finished in Murça Tawny Port Casks

Category: Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Chill-Filtered: No

Natural Colour: Yes

Nose:

Cranberries, home-made strawberry marmalade and drops of bacon grease sizzling on the hot coals of a barbecue. I mean, come on. When these are the notes you get right off the bat, do I need to say more? Anyways, I will ofcourse. There are also pork loins, and marinated chicken strips and just a whiff of hot porridge with raisins. Anyone else hungry right about now?

Palate:

Barrel aged maple syrup covered bacon strips. With peppered roast beef, honey glazed ham and fresh baked pancakes drizzled with molasses. There’s a trend in the U.S.A. at the moment where they put fried chicken on waffles, well… that’s in here too. Sweet and savoury to the maximum, and I personally love it! A bit of oak tannins and sea spray balance those elements out nicely though. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still intense in every possible sense. But it’s balanced at the same time.

Finish:

The finish is very long and whisps of smoke, peppered steak, and charred oak remain for quite some time to enjoy thoroughly. I personally can’t get enough of it, and thus I’m more than happy to have this linger for a while. Near the very end the bitter tannin notes do start to take over a bit though, which is the only fault I can give this dram really.

Verdict:

Okay, so if you’ve read this whole review, you can already tell that I absolutely adore this stuff. But this is the point where I would like to add some nuance to all the superlatives I’ve been throwing around. This whisky is my jam! But that doesn’t mean it’s yours. And objectively I think it’s still an excellent whisky, but it’s not without its flaws either. I did make sure to secure a bottle of two for my own collection though, and I’m thoroughly excited I could add this to Ardmore 11 by Murray McDavid to my Explorers Pack!

Rating:

89/100

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