OK, got the Ardmore. It's a Signatory bottling (Jun92-Oct04), bourbon cask 4859/4860, 46%, with no colouring/chillfiltration crap. Cost 25 pounds, which for comparison's sake is about the same as a bottle of OB HP12 here - ie pretty cheap.
Anyway, the whisky. Malty is the central theme - it's very cereal based, so if you like that type of whisky this is definitely a potential buy. The mouth feel is silky-smooth without being particularly oily, while the palate is mainly sweet malt with a medium body. It's light-to-medium peated, maybe 15ppm - about the same as Clynelish, but slightly less than west coasters like Talisker or Ledaig. This gives it a nice weight most Speysiders don't have - most pure bourbon cask examples are quite "delicate", if that makes sense. It's also moderately complex, but you don't need to go searching for the elements to enjoy it - a good anytime dram.
Summary: 85 points. It's very pleasant, easy to drink, yet with quite a lot of character. Of this sector of the market it's competing against the likes of the "quality", interesting, not mass-market, mostly non-sherried Speysiders: Braeval, Cragganmore, Longmorn, etc. If you like your malts to have malt, then this is definitely worth trying.
Edit: another dram, and I finally hit on what it reminded me of. It's like a better version of Springbank 10 - the same cereal, peat and sweetness combo, but without that slight immaturity and harsh finish that hurts the Springer.
Last edited by andrewfenton
on Sun Apr 03, 2005 9:34 pm, edited 2 times in total.