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Benriach 25yo Authenticus Peated vs Ardmore 19yo 1992/2011 Single Malts of Scotland

Right so these are 2 non-Islay, non-island but peated whiskies. Generally we know that certain scents and flavours are attributable to the kind of peat. Islay peat is island peat, meaning more salt, more of certain vegetals – seaweed and grasses, and salt, which is said to impart the maritime and medicianl flavours typical of Islay whiskies. Mainland peat has more vegetals associated with shrubbery and woody plants, which all makes sense when you think of the landscape from which the peat sank.

But Benriach and Ardmore? Not sure where Benriach gets its peat from, most likely commerical sources and since the Morayshire-grown malt comes from Port Gordon maltings 18km away, the cource of the peat cannot be that far away (But as we shall see this is from Seagram’s stock so who knows what they did back then). Ardmore’s malt is peated with peat from New Pitsligo and St Fergus. Let’s see if there’s any vast difference.

Benriach 25yo Authenticus Peated 46%

benriachauthenticus-peated

This expression was introduced in 2012, so the match says the earlier batches must have been pre Billy Walker stock.

Nose Nose: A deep earthy muddy round peat. How uncanny. My nose wants to imagine salt and shellfish a la Ledaig. But its a rather sweeter massy fruitier core that might dissuade you from this Islands link. In fact it’s quite a malty weighty oily sort of fat nose, and a fat oakiness with oaky wood spices. Maybe just a hint of florals.

Taste Palate: Smoke, ash and peat first in a rather fat and tasty delivery. Then some sort of un-tellable fruit and leather combo,  and sweet cream. Strangely warping into bitter wood and sour spices like licorice and aniseed, while staying smoky. Stays that way all through the finish.

Finish Finish: Rather long, but full of ash, sour wood and sour notes. A tad overwoody in the finish.

Score87

Well it’s a big fat peat, and very earthy, really quite a good peated whisky, just a little strange in its balance.

 

Ardmore 19yo 1992/2011 Single Malts of Scotland 49.3%

Ardmore19

Nose Nose: Besides being at cask strength, the peat here is much leaner but much sharper. Not round and muddy but vegetal rooty, and rather precise earthy phenols. Leaves more room for the high toned fruit that abounds: various citruses, pear peels, green philipine mango. Some oak and even something sour herby like thai basil or fennelseed. Also a touch of car repair shop. The right Ardmore can display quite some fruit!

Taste Palate: Sweet entry and peat is actually less obvious here, More on smoke,  green fruits, and ripe citrus again, some mintiness. Develops into those earthy phenols and broken roots, sour herbs again and smouldering wood. Quite good!

Finish Finish: Medium long, woodsmoke and green fruit.

Score90

I prefer this over the Benriach. Not just in terms of style – the sharper cutting edge of Ardmore’s peat and its fruitiness, but Benriach’s just didn’t come together very well – ie the sudden sourness and wood.

 

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This entry was posted on May 15, 2016 by in Ardmore, Benriach and tagged , .
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