From a Distillery with more ups and downs that a pogoing punk comes Ardcore. Created with roasted black malt, roasted to the extreme, this spirit is all about what happens up front ¬¬– centre stage. The malt is what defines its distinctive profile. Described as tasting like ‘biting on a spiky ball’, Ardcore is a dram that wears its heart on its sleeve… its black heart!Notes of charcoal and sweet smoke make for an in-your-face nose, while potent notes of aniseed and dark chocolate stamp this bottle out as one fit only for the most Ardcore of fans.Non chill-filtered at 46% ABV.
Vital Stats: Aged for nearly 10 years in mostly first-fill and some second-fill ex-bourbon barrels, 46% ABV, mash bill: 75% distilling malt, 25% black malt, SRP roughly $130/ 750ml bottle.
Appearance: This whisky is a pale straw yellow.
Nose: There’s a moderate peat aroma when first smelling, showing a touch of sweet corn and iodine. It seems very fresh with a bracing aroma like newly fallen snow that I attribute to the saline aromas. Time in the glass brings forward notes of caramel sauce and melted white chocolate, probably from the bourbon barrels. There’s an earthy undertone of wet autumn leaves and fermented pu’er tea that distinguishes it from a typical Islay whisky.
Palate: This is sweet and delicate on entry, with an oily texture and moderately rich body. There’s a savory quality not unlike Worcester sauce and roasted peanuts. The pepperiness builds on finish, showing lasting aromas of steamed corn, peat, and baked fish. I’m left with a lasting impression of salty licorice and char. Water brings out a delicate caramel note like milk powder, but does not further enhance the experience.