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KWM 2021 Whisky Calendar Day 16: Ardnamurchan Single Malt AD 01.21:01

Posted on December 16, 2021

by Evan

I am very excited for our dram for Day Sixteen of the 2021 KWM Whisky Calendar because it is coming from a young distillery that I honestly haven't tasted much from. Today, we present the Ardnamurchan Single Malt AD 01.21:01 in mini bottle form!

Ardnamurchan Distillery is located in the Western Highlands on the west coast. It is about a four-hour drive north and west from Glasgow along the A82 and a bit over a three-hour drive south and west from Inverness on the same road. Fort William is also an hour and a half drive away. The distillery takes its name from the Peninsula it resides on just to the north of the Isle of Mull.

Its nearest distillery neighbours include another new distillery called Nc'nean to the south across where Loch Sunart meets the sea and Tobermory Distillery is a ferry ride away on the Isle of Mull. Though both of these distilleries are geographically nearby, they both would take at least an hour and a half to get to from Ardnamurchan because it is fairly remote and you either have to traverse the waterways between it and other destinations.

The remote distillery is owned by the Independent bottler Adelphi. Adelphi made the decision we have seen other indie bottlers make over the past few decades in building a distillery, putting them on a list of bottlers and distillery owners that includes the likes of Cadenhead, Gordon & MacPhail, Signatory, Hunter Laing, Douglas Laing and I am sure more that are just not coming to my mind right now. The reason for this diversification is to ensure that they always have something to bottle of their own if they suddenly are not able to buy stock from other suppliers. It also gives them stock that they can potentially trade with other distillers if they wish to.

Adelphi started planning on Ardnamurchan back in 2007, though the distillery was not built and in production until seven years later in 2014. Thanks to Adelphi having their independent bottlings, they were able to take a bit more time to get things running the way they wanted at Ardnamurchan and have not had as much pressure as young distilleries often have to produce and sell gin and get that first whisky out the door ASAP in order to start recouping costs. However, they have been excited to share Ardnamurchan with the rest of the world so we have seen a few releases of barrel-rested spirit that was too young to be called whisky over the past few years.

Thanks to steady finances and patient owners, Ardnamurchan is able to push fermentation time longer than many distilleries to between 72 and 96 hours - a big difference between the typical 50-60 hours seen at many distilleries. It allowed Ardnamurchan to take more time in maturing their first single malt release which launched on September 30th of 2020, more than six years after they opened. According to Adelphi, they have over 10,000 casks of Ardnamurchan spirit maturing in warehouses. 

Some of these casks contain peated whisky and some contain unpeated whisky as the distillery makes both styles. Their peated style uses malt peated to between 30 and 35ppm. The whisky we will be trying today is the second official Single Malt Whisky Release from Ardnamurchan. The AD 01.21:01 release is a batch made with a blend of 50% peated and 50% unpeated single malt whisky that was matured in a combination of 65% Ex-Bourbon casks / 35% Sherry casks. Let's taste it!

Ardnamurchan Single Malt AD 01.21:01

Evan’s Tasting Note

Nose: Citrus notes with a cheesy funk and light peat smoke. Steel-cut oats fresh from the bag or box, Edam or Comte cheese wedges, lemon meringue pe, and grainy bread dough just starting to bake in the oven.

Palate: Umm.. would you believe poutine? Cheese curds, gravy, fries and all. Side dishes include Key Lime tarts, oatmeal, and a stick of juicy fruit gum.

Finish: Coastal with a nice smoky and sweet mineral note.

Comment: Incredibly well put together dram. The peat helps keep the youthfulness of the whisky at bay but doesn't overtake the character of its spirit one iota.

I am a bit late to the game on Ardnamurchan, but this specific bottle is enough to make me want to try more. If you crossed Bruichladdich with Springbank and throw in Teaninch for good measure, I think you would get something like this. This may end up being near the top of my rankings for what I have tasted thus far... Will Day Seventeen give it a run for its money? Only time will tell!

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This entry was posted in Whisky, Tastings, Whisky Calendars, Independent Bottler, KWM Whisky Calendar 2021



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