A lot of new distilleries have opened in recent years, and it seems every independent bottler wants to have one these days (I mean that in a positive manner) – H.Laing with ‘Ardnahoe’, D.Laing with their new endeavor, Elixir distillers and their new Islay distillery, and the list goes on and one. Adelphi is a well known IB, which has set up its own distillery in 2013 and started distilling in July 2014. The very first bottles were released in 2016 consisting of 2,500 bottles of a young spirit sold overnight.
The 2nd bottling of theirs was released in 2017, again with a small batch of 2,500 bottles, and well received. The bottle design (which is very unique) got an award for bottle design that year.
2014 saw an increase in production at the distillery to just over 400,000 liters per year, and the 2018 edition was released with a larger 5,000 quantity.
As for pronounciation check out this video if you’re having a hard time pronouncing 😉
The 2019 edition we’re about to review, yielded 5,100 bottles at 2 years of age, bottled at 57.4 %. is made of 29 different casks some of which are smaller octaves, and some bigger, mostly are ex-sherry ones :
- 16 American oak ex Oloroso octaves unpeated Ardnamurchan (55 litre original fill)
- 5 American oak ex Oloroso and PX octaves, peated Ardnamurchan (55 litre original fill)
- 1 American oak ex PX hogshead, peated Ardnamurchan (250 litre original fill)
- 1 American oak ex PX hogshead, unpeated Ardnamurchan (250 litre original fill)
- 1 Spanish oak ex PX hogshead, peated Ardnamurchan (250 litre original fill)
- 1 Spanish oak ex PX hogshead, unpeated Ardnamurchan (250 litre original fill)
- 1 American oak ex Oloroso hogshead, peated Ardnamurchan (250 litre original fill)
- 1 American oak ex Oloroso hogshead, unpeated Ardnamurchan (250 litre original fill)
- 2 Spanish oak ex Oloroso butt, unpeated Ardnamurchan (500 litre original fill)
The bottle looks lovely and very different, and although this is not yet officially ‘whisky’ as it’s not 3 years old, it’s also not badly priced: £ 56.95.
Ardnamurchan 2019 AD , 2 years old, 57.4 , £56.50
Nose: Sweet and concentrated on the entry – the sherry is very pronounced here: lots of dried fruit, with the ‘regular’ suspects such as sultanas galore, dates, fig, and the occasional prune.. There’s also a youthful feeling to it, with some new-makish notes, which are well ‘hidden’ under the many layers of sweetness and fruit. While the sherry is strong with this one, there’s also a nice toffee’d / caramel notes coming, maybe a hint of salty caramel as well. A musty feeling too, with mushrooms and burnt toast, as well as some wee smoke of a sweet kind.
Palate: Mmmm. nice stuff, with a nice alcohol bite, which requires some water to tame it down. It’s sweet and filled with sherry notes, just as the nose suggested, with more maple and golden syrup, some orchard fruit maybe, some wood char, and again a wee smoky edge, but not a lot of that, more of a smoky brewed tea, and a peppery tang getting dry.
Finish : drying, oak, vanilla, charred wood and coal, dusty and a bit sooty with the sweet sherry tannins going a long way.
Very nice stuff for such a young ‘un.
Conclusion : I was not expecting much (not sure why, maybe I have had too many young spirits which were not mature enough costing too much – you can’t blame me) , but this one’s really nice for what it is. It’s not even 3 years of age, aging in the cold weather of Scotland, and it feels ready. I know there’s a lot of Octave casks games going on, purposely used to hasten the maturation process, and that has worked nicely, all in all. The sherry is also doing a nice job at ‘concealing’ the real tender age of this liquid, and although it’s not the most ‘complex’ of drams, it does have a lovely nose, and a good balance of sweet, malty, smoky and sherried notes. I am very much looking fwd to tasting the liquid aging in proper big casks in the coming years, I have a feeling we’re going to see some very good whisky coming out of this wee distillery. Good work Adelphi. very good work.
I am impressed.
** I am not going to score this one as it’s not ‘whisky’ yet. but If I would it would be somewhere in the lower 80’s.