Complete Guide to Scotch Whisky
Ardmore Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Kennethmont, Huntly, Aberdeenshire
AB54 4NH Scotland
Tel: +44 01464 831 213 / Fax: +44 01464 831 428
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Built by Adam Teacher, son of the Glasgow whisky entrepreneur William Teacher in 1898, Ardmore was created to provide a core single malt whisky for their growing and now world famous blended whisky, Teacher's® Highland Cream.

Sitting in the verdant Aberdeenshire countryside not far from the Grampian mountains, home of the Golden Eagle (a key icon of the Ardmore brand), the distillery has over time become one of the biggest Malt Whisky distilleries in Scotland.

The name "Ardmore" cannot be accredited with local importance, moreover it is believed to have been named after the "Ardmore Point" on the Firth of Clyde between Cardross and Helensburgh, near where the Teacher's family had a home. It is also claimed that Ardmore is taken from an Islay distillery which operated between 1817 and 1835. The peaty flavour profile of ArdmoreTM Traditional Cask, unusual for a mainland malt, adds certain credibility to this claim!

Built using technology developed during the industrial revolution, the distillery's original configuration comprised of one coal fired Wash and one coal fired Spirit Still, with the power provided by a coal fired steam engine. Sandwiched between its own railway sidings (the Aberdeen to Inverness line) and the B9002, the distillery was well served for the import of coal, casks and locally grown barley and the export of finished spirit to Glasgow and the Teacher's blending and bottling lines.

The sidings at the distillery are no longer used, but some of the buildings which formed the station along with much of the distillery's original production equipment, including the steam engine, are still present marking a bygone era.

As Teacher's Highland Cream grew in popularity, so did the need to increase capacity at Ardmore. This first occurred in 1958 with a doubling of the Wash and Spirit Stills to four and then again in 1975 to create the magnificent eight still, Still House configuration which can be seen today.

Living in the shadow of its famous sister brand Teacher's, the peaty flavour of Ardmore has historically been the preserve of those able to buy the limited amounts produced by independent bottlers or an exclusive 12 Year Old released by the distillery to mark its centenary in 1998.

Ardmore - Photo Courtesy of Ardmore DistilleryRecognizing the wide acclaim of Ardmore's single malt amongst whisky aficionados and an increase in consumer demand, the distillery has released its first ever widely available single malt - ArdmoreTM Traditional Cask.

Peated in the fine traditions of Ardmore, Ardmore Traditional Cask is a double matured single malt whisky. First matured in typical ex-bourbon barrels, the spirit receives its second maturation in handmade quarter casks, similar to those used 200 years ago. Although labour and time intensive, the process of Quarter Cask maturation allows much greater contact between the maturing spirit and the oak of the cask. When combined with the full, but relatively light peating of Ardmore, this creates an extraordinary malt whisky that has a well rounded flavour, a unique peat-smoke richness softened by a delicate sweetness. To achieve the best possible representation of the distillery's flavour profile, ArdmoreTM Traditional Cask is non-chill filtered and bottled at 46% alc/vol.


Buy Ardmore Traditional Cask Single Malt Scotch Whisky Here!

Colour: Burnished Gold Nose At bottle strength the influence of the two styles of maturation casks compliment each other producing a full bodied smooth aroma. The maturity that shows through comes from the America barrels and the spicy creamy nose from the old style smaller casks. A touch of water allows the full complexity of the Highland Peated Malt to appear. The rich softness linked with smooth, slightly dry aroma is combined with just enough earthy peat smoke to avoid being overpowering.

Palate: At bottle strength the full rich flavours burst and fill the mouth with a creamy peat tang and a touch of vanilla’s soft gentleness. If a touch of water is added then the flavours increase with the addition of a sweet ripe fruit start followed by the tang of peat.

Nose: Full, succulent and quite long. The full bodied smoothness can be best appreciated at bottling strength but with a touch of water the full complexity can be recognized.

Tasting Notes Courtesy of Ardmore Distillery



Color: Yellow Gold.

Nose: Straight from the bottle, the initial aroma is of marzipan with just a trace of peat smoke that is overlaid by the morello cherry and blackcurrant fruitiness. A touch of water releases all the multitudes of complex flavours that one expects from this Highland Malt. The peat smoke appears immediately as a touch of leather that fades and allows the creamier fruit and heather flower rich softness that is balanced by the tang of oak.

Body: Richness balanced with fruity softness.

Palate: At bottle strength the peat smoke bursts in the mouth and overpowers the softer flavours. With a touch of water the peat concentration is mellowed by vanilla cream and a sweet oakiness.

Finish: Crisp and quite long lasting.

Tasting Notes Courtesy of Ardmore Distillery

Ardmore won the gold medal “Best in Class” distinction at the 2008 International Wine & Spirit Competition where they described Ardmore in the below tasting notes:

One wonders what perfectly peated is? This must be close to it. Peat leads the way on the nose followed by heather, sweet tobacco, chocolate, orange and spice with gentle notes of peat all the way along with wonderful malty tones. Subtle but complex in the mouth with lively flow and loads of emerging flavours. With time in the glass oats, honey and heather begin to show. Gentle oak cradle. Long, sublimely smooth finish. Gorgeous dram.

The Ardmore Distillery
Ardmore Distillery - Photo Courtesy of Ardmore
Ardmore Distillery

PRODUCTION – A GLIMPSE INTO THE CREATIVE PROCESS AT ARDMORE MALTING Purchased to optimise fermentation and ultimately, spirit yields, Ardmore uses locally grown barley for the purposes of malting. Whilst this is no longer carried out on premises (the Ardmore maltings closed in the 1960s), the distillery staff still manage the process from grain purchase through to malt production.

The characteristic peat flavour that differentiates ArdmoreTM Traditional Cask from other mainland Malts is derived from the peating levels specified during the malting process. Classified as Light or Medium peated, Ardmore typically peats its malts to between 12 to 14 parts per million. To ensure local authenticity in the making of Ardmore, the maltsters source the peat from a bog at New Pitsligo in Aberdeenshire. Ardmore is the only Highland distillery to have continuously used a
fully peated malt in the production of its spirit.

Stored in twelve 90 tonne bins, with a further four 50 tonne bins for overfill/emergency use, the distillery has a total malt storage capacity of 1,280 tonnes; which is pretty big by Malt distillery standards. This storage capability allows the distillery to rest its malt for two to three weeks before it is used.

MILLING The malted barley is crushed through a traditional Boby Patent Two-High Mill, believed to date from the 1930s. This creates the Grist a mixture of husk material, coarse grits and fine flour. Sugars will be extracted from the grist during the mashing process.

MASHING The Ardmore Mashtun reflects the idiosyncratic nature of the Ardmore distillery, comprising as it does a cast iron body (good for heat retention), with stainless steel semi-lauter mashing gear. The distillery will mash 12.48 tonnes of malt to generate 60,000 litres of Wort, the sweet liquid from which the spirit will be fermented.

Unlike other malt distilleries Ardmore mashes its second water at an exceptionally high temperature of 95oC. (Most distilleries will do this at between 85 to 90oC.) The third water is applied at a temperature close to 100oC to ensure the maximum extraction of sugars from the Grist. The Sparge is then collected and used as the first water for the next Mash.

Ardmore draws its water from 15 springs on the Knockandy Hill some 1,425 feet above sea level and due North of the distillery; cooling water comes from the burns nearby.

FERMENTATION Ardmore has ten 45,000 litre and four 90,000 litre Washbacks (fermentation vessels) which are made from Scottish Douglas Fir. The distillery has resisted the temptation to install stainless steel vessels, believing that additional flavour compounds are derived through fermentation in wood.

60,000 litres of Wort is placed into each individual (or pair of) washbacks, to which a blend of Distiller's Yeast is added. The fermentation head is left to develop for a period of between 53 and 60 hours.

DISTILLATION Ardmore's four Wash Stills and four Spirit Stills make it one of the biggest malt distilleries in
Scotland, capable of producing approximately five million litres of spirit per annum.

The Wash Stills are charged at 15,000 litres and Low Wines collected for between five to five and a half hours. The Spirit Stills, which are differentiated by their slightly longer necks, are charged at a slightly higher level of 15,500 litres with the distillation cycle lasting for about eleven hours.

All Spent Lees (spirit distillation waste) is treated through the distillery's own copper removal plant, which is believed to have been the first in the Scotch whisky industry. Since the conversion from direct fired coal to indirect steam heating in 2001, Ardmore now make two types of spirit, Ardmore (fully peated) and Ardlair (unpeated). Ardlair is named after a set of standing stones a few miles from the distillery and it is principally used for blending by other distillers as a blending malt.

MATURATION Young, high in strength and colourless, the spirit must grow old in wood, mellowing and maturing while it takes on the colour, taste and aroma of casks of seasoned oak. At Ardmore the majority of the spirit is used to produce
Teacher's® Highland Cream. Spirit destined for Teacher's is placed in large Spanish oak Puncheons holding up to 550 litres. Here it will sit for around six years slowly maturing before blending.

The maturation of ArdmoreTM Traditional Cask takes place in ex-American Bourbon Barrels holding 190 litres of spirit. Matured on site the casks will lie awaiting the time when the Master Blender believes they are ready, before being transferred to quarter casks for finishing.

Reflecting more traditional times before standard bottling age became the norm, no hard or fast rules apply to the time the spirit will lie in either cask or indeed when it will be bottled. This is down to the judgement and experience of the Master Blender who will decide when the spirit is right.

Distillery tours are by appointment only, please call: +44 (0)1464 831 213


Established by William Teacher & Sons.
1958 Another pair of stills added.
1975 An additional four stills added creating an eight Still configuration and one of the largest Malt distilleries in Scotland.
1976 Taken over by Allied Brewers, subsequently to become Allied Distillers.
1999 Rare Single Malt distillery release a 12 Year Old to mark the centenary of Ardmore.
2001 Direct coal-firing of stills ends following Still House fire – required by 2006 to comply with EU regulations.
2002 As part of Her Golden Jubilee tour, the Queen and Prince Phillip stayed in the Royal Train which was parked up at the Ardmore sidings overnight. Somewhat characteristically, the Distillery Manager commented that whilst sister distillery Laphroaig has the HRH feathers Ardmore hosted the Queen!
2005 Acquired by US based company Beam Global Spirits & Wine, Inc.
2007 Ardmore produces and releases its first widely available commercial
Malt, ArdmoreTM Traditional Cask in Duty Free and the UK.
2008 Ardmore Traditional Cask launches in the U.S.

Courtesy of Ardmore Distillery