Ardnahoe – Inaugural Release

It has arrived, the Inaugural Release from Ardnahoe Distillery on Islay.

This Islay Single Malt has been matured for 5 years in a combination of Bourbon and Oloroso sherry casks and bottled at 50% Alc/vol. The spirit is distilled from barley (from Port Ellen Maltings) with a phenol content of 40 ppm. Ardnahoe Distillery is the only Islay distillery using worm-tub condensers.

Ardnahoe was founded by Stewart Laing (Hunter Laing) in 2018. The last new Islay Single Malt came from Kilchoman in 2009. 

Stewart Laing, Managing Director at Hunter Laing & Co. said: “Building our own distillery was a hugely important and long dreamed of step and it’s been a personal ambition of mine ever since I was posted to work on Islay at Bruichladdich back in the 1960s. From finding the perfect piece of land on Islay for the distillery back in 2015 to now seeing our first whisky released, it’s truly the culmination of a lifelong dream for the Laing family.”

This exciting new distillery sits between Caol Ila and Bunnahabhain distilleries looking out from the distillery’s outdoor terrace across the Sound of Islay to the neighbouring Island of Jura and the famous Paps.

A couple of years ago on a visit to Islay, I visited Ardnahoe to find a fabulous well-stocked shop, (maybe the largest on Islay) that also had a cafe and a bar together with an outdoor terrace with magnificent views.

Let us now open the bottle and have a taste.

Ardnahoe Inaugural Release – Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky, 5 Years Old, Natural Colour, Non-chill Filtered, 50% Alc/vol 70 cl. 

Colour…Aztec gold.

Nose…Damp coastal peat, vanilla, a fireman’s glove after a hard shift, a new first aid box just opened, then in comes some lobster pots.

Taste…Sweet peat, more vanilla, a very meaty BBQ,  salted treacle scones, a candy floss of smoke, fresh ginger, steamed mussels and cockles, Arbroath Smokies, very coastal and peaty, 

Finish…Long finish, salty, sweetness is always there, smoky, ideal dram for sipping at your evening BBQ by the sea.

A very easy drinking dram, sweet and smoky. Reminiscent of walking down Bowmore High Street on a winter’s evening with all the houses burning peat in their open fires.

Priced at only £69.95, which I thought was very reasonable for a malt of this calibre.

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