Ardnamurchan 2018 AD 03 Review

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“Smells Like Teen Spirit”

Whisky Review # 833

Country: Scotland
Region: Western Highlands
Brand: Ardnamurchan 2018 AD - Limited Release # 03 - 4916 Bottles
Type: Spirit - Bottled: 2018
Age: NAS (Around 1 Year)
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 55.3%
Maturation: Vatting of 29 1st Fill Ex-Sherry Oloroso and PX Casks
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 65-85 (September 2019)
Price/Quality Ratio: Negative. Way too expensive for such a young Spirit.
Buying Advice: 😐Interesting but very young Spirit. Buy a sample first! 


Dark Amber (Natural Colour)


Young, Edgy, Fruity and slightly Thin Spirit. The Alcohol is certainly noticeable. I must admit though that it's hard to believe we are nosing a 1 Year old Spirit. The First-Fill casks did a really good job here. On the Nose this Ardnamurchan presents mainly Sweet- but also a few Sour notes. On the whole a very positive surprise considering its short maturation.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley, Toffee, Mixed Fruits and Nuts including Raisins, Dates, Hazelnuts and Peanuts, Seville Oranges, Yeast, Factory Smoke, Dirty Earth, Leather, Wet Rocks & Cinnamon.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Slightly Burnt Buttered Toast, Cake, Caramel, Sour Berries, Tinned Pineapple, Apple-Vinegar, Mango-Flavoured Yogurt, Varnish, Iron, Pepper and Nutmeg.

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Young, Sharp, Dry & Smoky. It not unlike a Young Islay actually. On the Palate you will find an array of Sweet, Sour and Bitter notes. The Alcohol is very much present.

Main Flavours:

Toffee, Salted Caramel, Factory Smoke, Dirty Earth, Ashes, Soot, Wet Rocks, Red Apple, Seville Oranges, Cherry-Flavoured Cough Syrup, Gooseberries, Wax and Pepper.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Sweet Barley, Dried Fruit like Sultanas and Plums, Apple-Vinegar, Cheap Red Wine, Wood Pellets, Tinned Pineapple, Pork on the BBQ, Licorice and Menthol.


Short to Middle Long with Sweet, Sour and Bitter notes. Its Youth is clear now and the Alcohol is quite Strong. Quite Dry in the end as well. Peat and Factory Smoke are more pronounced than on the Nose. I also find Sweet Barley, Toffee, Salted Caramel, Wood Pellets, Apple-Vinegar, Gooseberries, Cherry-Flavoured Cough-Syrup, Bitter Orange Juice, Varnish, Iron, Ashes, Soot, Menthol, Pepper and Licorice.

Drinking Advice:

I added a little Water and that tames the Alcohol of course which by itself is a good thing. You're left with a sort of Fruity Peat-Water mixed with Porridge. Palate and Finish relax a bit with the added Water although the overall Aroma and Flavour profile does not change dramatically. There's room to experiment with a few drops.

Rating: 81.5

Nose: 20.5 - Taste: 20.5 - Finish: 20 - Overall: 20.5

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay. Good when you consider the terribly short maturation.


Ardnamurchan was founded recently in 2014 in Glenbeg, Ardnamurchan, Argyll, just north of Mull. It is owned by the independent bottler Adelphi Distillery Ltd. Production started in July 2014. Annual production will amount to around 420.000 litres. Half of the year the distillery produces unpeated Spirit while during the other half peated Spirit is produced (30-35 PPM). Adelphi plans to release a mature Spirit each year until 2021 when the first Single Malt will be bottled. Today we are tasting the 2018 Edition # 3 that included both unpeated and peated Barley in the mash-bill.

I was really surprised with the Aroma/Flavour level of this Spirit given its ultra-short maturation. These Sherry-Flavoured casks have really done a good job. I am impressed. Nevertheless it's still a young Spirit and you can't and shouldn't compare it to a fully matured Single Malt. But it's sufficiently interesting to look forward to the first fully matured Ardnamurchan Single Malt. I have a feeling it will be quite good if and when the distillery continues to work with good quality casks. In any case I wish the team of Ardnamurchan the best of luck!


Jan van den Ende                                                            September 23, 2019

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