La Maison du Whisky Artist Collective #3.6 Ardmore 9 Year Ex-Islay Casks (2009)

Scotch Whisky Review #416: La Maison du Whisky Artist Collective #3.6 Ardmore 9 Year Ex-Islay Casks (2009)

Distillery: Ardmore.

Bottler: La Maison du Whisky.

Region: Highland.

Age: 9 Year. Distilled in 2009, bottled in 2019.

ABV: 43.0%.

Cask Type: 7 ex-Bourbon Casks that formerly held Laphroaig spirit.

Price: €72.00.

Color: 0.1, White Wine. Natural Color and Non-Chill Filtered.

Nose: I can’t tell how much of this comes from the base Ardmore whisky which LMDW tells us is peated to 12-14 PPM and how much of this comes from the ex-Laphroaig casks, but you really get a nice hit of peat from the start. It starts with some smoke followed by some meat and finishes up on a bit of tar. There’s grilled lemons and lemon juice. Towards the back are earthier notes of tobacco with some menthol here and again.

Palate: It’s really light on flavor and I had to really work to start picking things out. Lemon is the easiest note that comes up first. A bit of smoke, tobacco, and menthol come in here and again. About halfway through the glass, notes of peppermint ginger snaps came through. A drop of water in that latter half also gave up some mint chocolate cookies (Girl Scout Thin Mints, specifically).

Finish: Unexpectedly long and pretty much lasted until you took another sip. You get a nice tingle on the tongue from a Christmas spice blend. Ginger snaps make an appearance again joined by coffee that has had cinnamon and nutmeg stirred in. A bit of smoke comes through here and again.

Conclusion: Last week, I was able to pop into the famous La Maison du Whisky in Paris. I fully expected to be tempted to spend a little more than I wanted (and I was) but this bottle really caught the eye. I’ve not had a lot of Ardmore, what I’ve had hadn’t impressed me, but I was really curious how ex-Islay/Laphroaig casks would work. Turns out, I’m still not sure how much is from the base spirit and how much is from the cask, but whatever LMDW did here worked incredibly well. The nose is just about everything you’d expect, though metered in a way so that it isn’t overpowering. The finish is incredible, both in length and depth of flavor. The cinnamon/nutmeg coffee notes reminded me of an old high school English teacher who would take her coffee that way as her interpretation of melange from Dune might taste like. The palate took a lot of searching for notes but the thin mint and peppermint ginger snap notes made me want more and more. As fantastic as this is already, I can’t help but feel that LMDW missed an opportunity to really give us something special. A little higher ABV and I’d imagine the palate would be more flavorful and truly special. As it is, it is still a fantastic whisky and I’m very happy to have it.

Final Score: 86.

Note: I’ve made some changes to the scoring legend, the descriptions have been updated slightly to match my actual scoring a little better.

Scotch Whisky Review #416, Highland Review #80, Whisky Network Review #570

Scoring Legend:

  • 96-100: The perfect dram, nectar of the gods.
  • 90-95: Near perfect, there is something truly special about this whisky and I will always try to keep a bottle of this in my collection if feasible.
  • 85-89: Very good to amazing, almost the complete product and I’m likely wanting a bottle or two.
  • 80-84: Quite good, pleasant overall though there is usually a few things that could be improved still.
  • 75-79: Good, enjoyable to drink but ultimately flawed.
  • 70-74: Alright, solid and wouldn’t go out of my way to get it.
  • 60-69: Meh, still drinkable.
  • Below 59: If you have a bottle of this, start cooking with it instead.

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