Ardmore 1996–Gordon & MacPhail [The wood makes the whisky]


Gordon & MacPhail recently launched their The Wood Makes the Whisky’ campaign, highlighting the importance of this essential element in the whisky maturation process.

for that matter they have selected a special series of whiskies to showcase their philosophy on carefully matching spirit with oak in order to ensure a premium taste.

For over 120 years Gordon & MacPhail has carefully matched spirit with oak in order to ensure a premium taste which reflects the company’s philosophy. Through ‘The Wood Makes the Whisky, campaign consumers are invited to gain a more in-depth insight into how Gordon & MacPhail’s approach to matching wood to spirit has shaped a number of whiskies in their portfolio.


Using expertise honed over four generations, Gordon & MacPhail believe that wood really does make the whisky, with their skillfully coopered casks delivering a full spectrum of flavor compounds; from sweet vanilla notes found through Bourbon cask maturation to rich toffee, dark chocolate and spice notes derived through maturation in Sherry casks.


The array of flavors derived from oak are abundant across the Gordon & MacPhail portfolio, with each whisky demonstrating a unique flavor profile which reflects the cask type as well as the distillery character.

Gordon & MacPhail has selected a series of whiskies, from various Collections including Connoisseurs Choice, The MacPhail’s Collection and Rare Vintage, which they feel best demonstrate ‘The Wood Makes the Whisky’ philosophy.

I will be reviewing a few of those whiskies, starting with an Ardmore 1996, today.


Distillery Labels Ardmore 1996 , 54% abv , £61ardmore96


Nose: very nice creamy start with a lively smoky feel to it. Lightly smoked indeed. Smoky dried banana, toasted oak, cinnamon and pepper. Nice gentle peat with an earthy touch. Well rounded and balanced. This isn’t a peat monster – more like a lightly smoky pet.

Palate:  nice entry with some pepper and a lovely smokiness and light peat notes. Again the smoky dried banana, sweet dough and apple peel, vanilla and nuts.

Finish: long smoky and drier with the nuts.

The Verdict:

This is a rather delicious whisky, showcasing the subtle peat, and fruity flavors, although this is a sherry cask matured whisky, the sherry notes are not really emphasized in this edition, more of a bourbon banana , nut sort of flavor profile. Highly enjoyable, and recommended dram. I loved it. Good work G&M. Can’t wait to try the other ones.

Score: 88/100

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