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 2015/2019 4yo Un-Ob. Bourbon cask sample cask #199 63.5% WB85.33
It would appear the angels haven’t had a single drop from this 1st fill American bourbon oak cask.
- 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
- 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.
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.
- 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
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.
- 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 sherry cask #5773 [200 bts] 57.2% WB89.44
- 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
- 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