• Founded: 1898
  • Status: Operational
  • Region: Highland, Scotland – Kennethmont, Aberdeenshire AB54 4NH +44(0)1464 831213
  • Online:

Image courtesy of Master of Malt

History: Ardmore distillery is a single malt Scotch whisky distillery. The distillery is owned and operated by Beam Suntory, an American subsidiary of Suntory Holdings of Osaka, Japan. The distillery was built in 1898 by William Teacher’s son, Adam, to secure fillings for their blend, Teacher’s Highland Cream (of which it remains the principal component). Set deep in the farmland of “the Garioch”, near the River Bogie and the village Kennethmont, Huntly, Aberdeenshire. Two stills were added in 1955, and four more in 1974, for a total of eight. The distillery had its own maltings until the mid-1970s, and its own cooperage until the late 1980s. Until early 2001 it used coal to fire the stills.

Ardmore Traditional Cask was the distillery’s single malt. It was bottled at 46% ABV, in bottles embossed with an image of a golden eagle. Unlike many single malts, barrier filtering, rather than chill filtering was used. Ardmore Traditional Cask was superseded by Ardmore Legacy in 2014, with ABV reduced to 40% and chill filtration used. This was a slightly controversial move, as many whisky enthusiasts prefer barrier-only filtration and the higher ABV, both of which help to preserve more of the malt’s character and flavour. Ardmore Traditional Cask will be re-launched in early 2015 as Ardmore Tradition and will continue to be 46% ABV, and be only barrier filtered. Also due for release in 2015 are Triple Wood and Port Wood expressions, both bottled at 46% ABV and barrier filtered only.

The Whiskyphiles tasting notes

Official Bottling
  • Ardmore Traditional Cask (2014) - Not bad for an introductory dram, this has some body and a little complexity to it. I was hoping for a fuller palate from the nose but this appears to be a little thin, sharper and more prickly than I was expecting. There is a slightly chewy nature from this and the more you work with it the more the peaty nature comes out. A drop of water separates the sweet and peaty elements which for me sadly didn't improve this whisky. 76/100
Independent Bottling
  • Ardmore 16 Years Old Cadenhead Small Batch Ardmore 16 Years Old 1997 Small Batch (2014) - Cereal, sweet-ish like savoury woodland honey, slightly bitter and sour but crisp and delicate throughout, definite flavour of heathery peat (like highland or speyside) 85/100
Douglas Laing
  • Ardmore-8-GreatDrams Ardmore 8 Years Old 2009 Great Drams Exclusive (2017) - Sweet, waxy, fruity, peaty and spiced, this dram has it all and is tempered by presentation at 46% to be rather palatable and moreish. 84/100
  • ardmore-14-year-old-2000-cask-10593-old-particular-douglas-laing-whisky Ardmore 14 Years Old 2000 Old Particular 10593 (2020) - Ardmore 14 Years Old 2000 Old Particular whisky review: Quite gentle and reserved with a nice dry minerality, overall lemon/vanilla and highland peat predominate, educational. 83/100
  • ardmore-16-year-old-2000-cask-11168-old-particular-douglas-laing-whisky Ardmore 16 Years Old 2000 Old Particular 11168 (2020) - Ardmore 16 Years Old 2000 Old Particular Whisky Review: Another quite light dram from a refill barrel, perhaps tamed a little more and some better developed fruit flavours arising, a little spiced in places, what it gains in fruit from the 14 Year Old 2000 expression however it loses in peat/smoke influence. 83/100
Gordon & MacPhail
  • ardmore-1996-bottled-2013-gordon-and-macphail-whisky Ardmore 1996 Distillery Labels (2016) - Possibly my most favourite Ardmore expression I have sampled. This is reserved and massively well-balanced with a great complexity presented in such a smooth and approachable palate. Very nice. 85/100
  • Ardmore 9 Years Old 2008 Mossburn No. 6 (2021) - An eclectic mix of soft Highland heather brush smoke or beech wood smoke which transitions into diluted Islay peat smoke and coastal influences. 84/100
Scotch Malt Whisky Society
  • The Whiskyphiles SMWS 66.60 Bottles SMWS 66.60 Caribbean wedding on the beach (2014) - urprised to find this was from Ardmore and is lightly peated. There was a dry/dusty note throughout that should have have given me the heads-up on the peaty influence but it is very subtle and well-incorporated. I was too taken with nailing down the ethereal tropical fruity flavours in this that swirled away from the tongue almost as soon as they had been discovered. An alluring dram, this was easy drinking and very enjoyable. Perhaps I should have spent a little longer with this one and tried a little water, though it clearly didn't require water to enjoy it. 83/100
  • SMWS 66.76 Guilty pleasure SMWS 66.76 Guilty pleasure (2015) - This one had a lot of fans at the tasting and it is easy to see why, a good example of sweet and peat though a slightly diverse collection of Ardmore peat and white wine influenced sweetness. There was something rich and chewy about this one throughout. Delicious! 86/100