Image of Ardmore 6 Year (Battlehill) in a Glencairn with bottle

Bright Young Peat – Ardmore 6 Year (Battlehill) First Impressions Complete Review

Finding Ardmore Peated

Image of the Ardmore Distillery

Anne Burgess [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

I’ve been on high alert for a bottle of Ardmore Traditional Cask Peated for months. Apparently it’s not hard to find in bigger cities. But all my searches in Chattanooga have come up short. We’ve caught on to the Tennessee Whiskey and bourbon explosion but there are only a few stores that carry a decent selection of single malt.

My wife and I planned an overnight to Atlanta to eat at FLIP Burger Boutique and Antico Pizza Napoletana. It’s only about a two hour drive but throw in some shopping at IKEA and you’ve easily got a full day. I took advantage of the drive by stopping at one of my favorite liquor stores, Total Wine & More in Kennesaw. On the way down. And on the way back.

In comparison to anything in Chattanooga, Total Wine is a scotch wonderland. They have many distillery official bottlings and plenty of options for the robust of wallet. They also have a contract with an independent bottler, BattlehillDon’t know about independent bottlers? Learn more here.

Again, I had no luck finding the Ardmore Traditional Cask Peated. What I did find was a Battlehill bottling of Ardmore 6 Year (Peated). Ardmore Traditional Cask is a No Age Statement (NAS) scotch, so all we really know is that it’s at least 3 years and 1 day old. It could be six years old. I guess only Ardmore insiders will ever know. This scotch was only about $50 so there wasn’t much to lose.

These are my first impressions of this bottle. I’ve already had a few drams, but as with most other single malt whiskies, I get something new and different at every tasting. Since I’m less than a third of the bottle in, it’s still new.

Review

Image of Ardmore 6 Year (Battlehill) in a Glencairn with bottle

Appearance

Light straw color with excellent clarity. Moves freely and lightly in the glass. Legs are there but faint.

Nose/Aroma

I get apricots immediately. There’s a nice alcohol tingle that gives way to earthy, peaty wisps of smoke as you pull your nose away from the glass. Very light sniffs yield a sweet caramelly vanilla. Overall, a moderately complex aroma.

Palate/Mouthfeel

Slick on the tongue and somewhat light –even at cask strength. Blowing through the nose with the mouth closed summons up a warm tingle. Mouthfeel on the finish is moderate. It doesn’t fade too quickly but it’s not mouth-coating either.

Flavor

Immediate earthy smoke. But it’s not aggressively peaty, ashy, or rubbery like many Islay offerings. Being a Highland distillery, this is exactly what I’d expect. The flavor is quite bright, yielding some nice stone fruit hinted at by the apricot in the nose. The caramelly sweetness is also there but the vanilla is very much a character of the oak in the flavor. It’s this charred oak vanillins wispy with smoke that lasts into the moderate finish. Finally, just as the flavor fades away, I get the slightest hint of fresh leather.

Overall Impression

Ardmore 6 reminds me a lot of Kilchoman Machir Bay –if not quite as complex. The aromas and flavors are bright and young. Even at 6 years, this is a young scotch, so this is expected. I think of this scotch as an excellent introduction to peat without beating the drinker over the head with ash and rubber. Further, being a Highland scotch, it doesn’t have any of the salty brine that turn many people off of Islay malts. This was a great buy at $50. If you see a bottle (from any independent bottler), give it a try.

Score

78/100 – It’s a really good scotch and an excellent “transition” scotch on your path to Islay enlightenment.
Buy Ardmore Scotch Whisky

Visit Ardmore Distillery

Brad Lumley on Email
Brad Lumley
Brad is a BJCP Certified Beer Judge-gone whisk(e)y aficionado. Between drams, he's a husband, father of two, and avid CrossFitter.

COMMENTS

Christopher Zacharias

I’ve honestly never had a single malt aged less than 10 years. I’d probably be considered by most a “snob” when it comes to alcohol in general, let alone scotch whiskey having only ever sampled the more expensive, top shelf brands. I don’t at all pretend to actually know much of anything about scotch/bourbon/whiskey in general, other than that I can be extremely particular about what I fancy. I guess I would just be curious to experience other brands such as this and expand my horizons a bit.

Also, I like how it says “certified beer judge…..whiskey aficionado….and avid cross fitter.” Funny combo, but I can dig it. Haha

    Brad Lumley

    There’s nothing wrong with being selective. And having a preference doesn’t make you a snob. However, though there’s often a direct relationship between age and price, age statement doesn’t define whether or not a whisky is top shelf or expensive. The Macallan races to mind. They have an entire line of well-regarded no age statement (NAS) whiskies that range from $50 to thousands. Here is an informative article from back in 2012 when they made the switch. Short story, “just because a whisky is old doesn’t make it good—or even mature.” Ultimately, I agree. Expand your horizons. You might be surprised what you find you like.

    As to my tagline/bio, is it a funny combo? I know lots of BJCP judges who are scotch/whiskey connoisseurs. And I know loads of CrossFitters who love beer and whiskey.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*