TWE Show 2019: Adelphi

From one integrity bottler [WLP] to another. Adelphi are a fastidious independent bottler that charge a fair price for high-quality, often cask-led spirits. They also have their own distillery. We start with some early, un-released cask samples from Ardnamurchan.

Ardnamurchan welcome sign

Ardnamurchan 2015/2019 4yo Un-Ob. Bourbon cask sample cask #199 63.5% WB85.33[3]

It would appear the angels haven’t had a single drop from this 1st fill American bourbon oak cask.

Ardnamurchan 2015:2019 4yo Un-Ob. Bourbon cask sample cask #199 63.5%.jpeg

  • N: Ardnamurchan is another of Jim Swan’s legacy projects, but Ardnamurchan have avoided the STR route and utilised an ex-bourbon cask without too much tannin activity. In fact there’s been very little STR all weekend I’m relieved to say. The result is a lovely, relatively softened spirit.
  • T: This is a seriously good spirit with a touch of cocoa. The profile is rich and heavy.
  • F: Lemonade to cherry aid & apple juice.
  • C: Though just a demonstrative cask sample, it’s one that’s easily score-worthy.

Scores 80 points


Ardnamurchan 2015/2019 4yo Un-Ob. 1st fill oloroso hogshead cask sample #670P [554 bts] 63.5% WB88[1]

Ardnamurchan 2015:2019 4yo Un-Ob. 1st fill oloroso hogshead cask sample #670P [554 bts] 63.5%.jpeg

  • N: Another 4yo, this one with a ppm count of 30, the peat very much in the background. The profile in the main speaks of its previous cask contents.
  • T: A strange mix of oloroso going on PX?!
  • F: Sandy-dry finish.
  • C: Ardnamurchan’s projection for their inaugural single malt whisky release is to mix peated~sherried and bourbon cask-matured whiskies together, percentages pending.

[Not scored]


dancey man.jpg

Last time I came across Adelphi was at the Edinburgh Fringe 2018 [WLP]. There I met Keith Falconer who told me it was his daughter who had designed the ‘Dancey Man‘ logo. This year I learnt that Keith likes a joke. Adelphi’s company mascot is infact ‘a mid-19th century cartoon of Sir William Gladstone, dancing a jig over an ear of barley. This was to celebrate the passing of a new law which meant that taxes could only be raised on the amount of whisky left in a cask after maturation, and not on the level that it was originally filled to. This meant longer maturation, lower taxes and better quality whisky – an excellent reason to celebrate.


Let’s try four of Adelphi’s most recent independent releases appearing at TWE Show 2019.

Benrinnes 2006/2019 13yo Adelphi 1st fill oloroso hogshead #305385 [257 bts] 55.5% WB89.78[29] SW92

Benrinnes 2006:2019 13yo Adelphi 1st fill oloroso hogshead #305385 [257 bts] 55.5%.jpeg

  • N: Most wine-like at times with dark soft berries snatching the headline.
  • T: More berry action with waxy barley following.
  • F: Yet more savoury barley grain and berry action. At the death, flour and moorishly-chewy sultanas.
  • C: A delicious Benrinnes from a cracking cask.

Scores 88 points


[Balvenie] Dufftown Blended Malt 1999/2019 20yo Adelphi refill ex-PX hogshead #2140 [238 bts] 58% WB84[1] SW79

Adelphi didn’t/couldn’t call this Burnside [typically the recognised moniker for teaspooned Balvenie], because Cadenhead own that brand name. WF touched on this recently.

[Balvenie] Dufftown Blended Malt 1999:2019 20yo Adelphi refill ex-PX hogshead #2140 [238 bts] 58%.jpeg

  • N: Besides the decidedly firm ex-PX influence, the distillate is detectable.
  • T: Very sherried on the palate with an oloroso-like spirit burn.
  • F: Sweet sulphur.
  • C: Too cask-led for my liking, but I attempt to regard it objectively.

Scores 84 points


Blair Athol 1997:2019 21yo Adelphi cask # [200 bts] 57.2%.jpegBlair Athol 1997/2019 21yo Adelphi sherry cask #5773 [200 bts] 57.2% WB89.44[12]

  • C: Deliciously rich, beautifully consolidated malt. For lovers of oak and wine. £200 though, oh boy!

Scores 90 points


Bowmore 1994/2019 25yo Adelphi Refill Sherry cask #554 [498 bts] 54.2% WB89.71[27]

Bowmore 1994:2019 25yo Adelphi Refill Sherry cask #554 [498 bts] 54.2%.jpeg

  • N: Sublime and distinctive madeira & iced lemon cake and a series of other confectionary delights.
  • T: This one leads to a super-sherried sticky-sweet mouthfeel as if I’d just filled my mouth with toffees and a spoonful of creme brulee with all the topping.
  • F: Corn syrup-sweet, turning slightly less sweet towards a long slightly waxy, barley faithful conclusion.
  • C: A violet-less Bowmore, this is liquid-cake in a glass from a unique sherry refill.

Scores 90 points





TWE Show 2019



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