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Ardnahoe Inaugural Release 5 Year Old




Whisky Review: Ardnahoe Inaugural Release 5 Year Old

Tasting Notes:

The Ardnahoe Inaugural Release, is the limited-edition first single malt bottling from the ninth and newest Islay distillery, founded by Glasgow based independent bottlers, Hunter Laing & Co. Ardnahoe’s first release has been matured for five years, in a combination of ex-bourbon and oloroso sherry casks, bottled at 50% cask strength, non-chill filtered and at natural colour.
Golden Sunrise
Maritime coastal peat, balanced with sweeter notes of apple, vanilla, shortbread and crème brulee. There’s also an underlying hint of leather.
Plenty of sweetness on the palate, sweet peat alongside custard, apple, vanilla, lemon, and ginger. At times, there’s an almost meaty hidden undertone reminding me of honey roasted ham.
Long and smoky, with a lasting salted caramel sweetness and a slightly drying oaky note.
A well-balanced flavour profile of peat, sweet, and dryness – evidence of the ex-bourbon and sherry cask maturation. The Ardnahoe Inaugural Release is definitely a young whisky (and the 5-Year age statement doesn’t deny this), but very easy drinking. The sweetness conceals the cask strength – you could enjoy a few drams easily. I’m interested to see future releases, and hopefully some more mature age statement bottlings, from Ardnahoe – this distillery is one to watch.
Ardnahoe’s inaugural single malt is finally here. Credit: Ben Shakespeare for Ardnahoe Distillery

The Ardnahoe Inaugural Release 5 Year Old

At the beginning of May 2024, Ardnahoe Distillery finally unveiled its long-awaited first release: the Ardnahoe Inaugural Release 5 Year Old.

The release of this whisky marks the first inaugural single malt release from an Islay distillery in over two decades.

Ardnahoe Distillery was built in 2018 and production began in October of that year. Of course, scotch whisky must be matured for at least three years before it can be legally considered scotch. So, we whisky fans knew that we would have to wait a while to see the fruits of the new Islay distillery.

Ardnahoe went above and beyond with its aging, maturing the new whisky for 5 years following distillation in March 2019.

The Ardnahoe Inaugural Release 5 Year Old was distilled from barley with a phenol content of 40 ppm. This is in keeping with Islay’s reputation for peated whiskies. Given Ardnahoe’s location on the Islay coast, I expect some coastal, saline influences to appear in the whisky.

The distillery is also notable for its use of worm-tub condensers, the only ones on Islay. I am interested to see if this gives the whisky the “added depth of flavour and complexity” that was promised on release.

About Ardnahoe Distillery

Together with his sons, Scott and Andrew, Stewart Laing has dedicated himself to crafting classic Islay-style scotch whisky. Laing first studied whisky-making on the island in the 1960s.

After many years partnering with his brother, Fred, at Douglas Laing & Co., Stewart founded Hunter Laing & Co. in 2013 following a division of assets. Recognizing the potential for a new Islay distillery, Laing decided to establish Ardnahoe Distillery at a cost of £8 million, just south of Bunnahabhain. In 2017, Ardnahoe enlisted whisky industry legend Jim McEwan MBE as Master Distiller. With experience from Bowmore and Bruichladdich, Ardnahoe whisky is in expert hands.

Interested in learning more about the distilleries on Islay? Check out The Ultimate Guide To Islay Distilleries.

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Mark Bostock

Since joining Mark Littler LTD as a freelance article contributor in 2019, Mark Bostock has become an integral part of our UK content writing team. His enthusiasm for whisky, particularly independent bottlings, drives him to deepen his knowledge through frequent attendance at tasting events and the thoughtful expansion of his own whisky collection. This dedication not only fuels his passion but also enriches his contributions to our platform, blending expertise with a genuine love for the subject.

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