When I'm whizzing the shopping trolley around the supermarket, I always reward myself with a visit to the whisky aisle. Great bargains can be had, with Old Pulteney 12 and Highland Park 12 regular purchases when they're going for around £23. However a few weeks ago, I visited Morrison's on the way home from work. Lurking around the usual suspects, I spotted the Ardmore Traditional perched on a self, clearly looking for a good home. It had a few quid lopped off the asking price, so for £22, I thought I would take a punt on it. No age statement, but it's bottled at a hearty 46% and is non-chill filtered. I threw the chicken, pizza, crisps and veg out of the trolley and grabbed the bottle. I wasn't expecting much, but I was pleasantly surprised by this easy going, session dram with a hint of peat.
On the nose there was loads of toffee and caramel. There's also a lovely sweetness which brought to mind slabs of buttery tablet. Dark brown sugar is everywhere in the glass, along with a generous pour of condensed milk. The peat plays around the edges of the dram, but it never masks the lovely sweet confectionery aromas. I added a little water, left it for 10 and came back. This brought a hint of lime juice and milk bottle sweets to the party.
Taste wise, those buttery, dark sugar notes are still there, while I also got Lee's macaroon bars, complete with toasted coconut topping. This is a good whisky to pair with dark chocolate - not too bitter, though. It's a real treat.
The finish was toffee heavy with a sprinkling of ground cinnamon, while a slight green note cuts through right at the end.
If I had to compare the Ardmore Traditional to another dram, it would be the Benromach 10. That's much sweeter and carries loads of fruit notes but to me, there's something similar in the taste and smell. The Ardmore Traditional has none of those fruity notes - its sweetness is more of a brown sugar, fudge type of deal.
For the price, this is a great whisky but unfortunately, changes are already taking place. The Traditional is to be replaced - indeed, it already has in Morrison's. Ardmore have launched the Legacy which has muscled in already and knocked the Traditional out of the way.
It's chill-filtered and bottled at a disappointing 40%. It's also on sale at the moment for around the same price, so I might pick up a bottle just to try it. Initial reports suggest the Legacy is a decent enough dram, but doesn't quite match the Traditional. We shall see. But if you see a bottle of the old stuff in your local supermarket, I suggest you pick it up before it's gone forever.