When something exceeds your expectations, it is easy to become endeared to it and give it more credit that it objectively deserves. With that in mind I’ll try and keep the following opinion of Ardmore Legacy realistic.
I’m sure there are many people out there who wouldn’t touch a 40% NAS bottle which cost £20 from a supermarket, and I totally understand why. I actually bought it as a bit of a low-risk experiment to see if it kept the promises made on the packaging and in a couple of positive reviews I read, and I’m pleased to report that it does.
The nose is quite restrained but has a pleasant floral quality to it, with some sweet buttery notes, parma violets and a little ashy peat hanging out in the background. This makes sense considering Legacy is a “marriage of peated and unpeated” whisky.
On the palate the peat contribution is fairly minimal, as can be expected, but it is there. In fact the peaty element of this whisky is what makes the dram, because honestly the sweeter side of things isn’t much to write home about. The background to the overall flavour is light vanilla from the ex-bourbon casks and there’s a hint of honey but it is still pretty cereal-dominant in nature which suggests to me that this isn’t far beyond the 4-5 year-old mark.
A couple of drops of water opens things up just a touch, and I do only mean a couple of drops. Any more and you will drown it!
The peat fortunately gives it an extra dimension and I think the whole thing is saved by the fact that peaty whisky works at a young age. I would guess that Ardmore have used 80-90% unpeated whisky in the vatting, and then dumped a few casks of heavily peated but young whisky in the mix from refill casks that they knew weren’t going to go the distance, knowing that all they wanted from them was the smoky flavour of the spirit regardless of wood influence.
Overall I’m in no great hurry to replace the bottle, but for £20 as an experiment I can’t complain. I’d happily accept and enjoy a dram were it offered to me.