Ardmore is not widely known as a single malt. With its pungent peaty taste, Ardmore has always been a vital element in a famous and distinguished blended Scotch Whisky, Teachers Highland Cream and almost all of its production does actually go for blending. Fortunately, with the authority of the distillery owners, Allied Distillers, some of this distinctive whisky is bottled and sold as a single malt by Gordon & MacPhail.
Ardmore comes from a distillery set deep in the hills of Aberdeenshire, close to the village of Kennethmont. The rolling hills in this area are covered with fertile farmland. The elegant National Trust Leith Hall is situated on the outskirts of Kennethmont and the main railway line from Inverness to Aberdeen runs beside the distillery itself.
It was William Teacher’s son, Adam who organised the construction of Ardmore in 1898. These were the years when there was a boom in the whisky industry. Over the intervening years Ardmore has continued to prosper and is now one of the larger and most modern Scotch Whisky distilleries, with a total capacity reaching some three million litres.
Ardmore draws its water from 14 springs on the Knockandy Hill, which lies to the south of the distillery, cooling water comes from the burns nearby. Until the late 1970s, barley was malted at the distillery itself, but in recent years supplies have come from local commercial maltsters. The fuller more pungent flavour of the whisky produced here, in contrast to many other Highland malts, is due to the relatively high peating levels of the barley.
The fact that Ardmore is very much a traditional distillery is evident throughout - even to the point of the customary distillery cat - this one being three legged - warming itself by the heat of the glowing coals in the still room. But perhaps the reminders of the past that are found all over the distillery are significant in so far as they suggest a continued commitment to the quality of fine malt that has been produced there for so many years.