Tag Archives: Ardmore

The AuchTerTurra (‘Scotland The What?’)

Bought: Whisky Auction, 8th August 2018

None I can find.

The Auchterturra – “the what?” I hear you say. Well, you’d be partially correct. If you’d said “Scotland The What?” then you’d know that Auchterturra was a fictional village located somewhere in Aberdeenshire, often referred to by the comic trio known as ‘Scotland The What?’ in their sketches. Buff Hardie, Steve Robertson and George Donald met at the University of Aberdeen in the 1950s but first appeared under the name Scotland The What? at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1969. They performed together for 26 years until their ‘Final Fling’ show in 1995. Their material used the Doric, the local dialect of the north-east of Scotland, but I’m sure they toned it down when playing to international audiences. They recorded TV shows for Grampian Television and all three were awarded MBEs in 1995.

There are two versions of ‘The AuchTerTurra’ whisky released around 1990 in honour of Scotland The What?. I have the blend, which can make between £25-£60 at auction but there’s also a 1969 single malt that commands over £200, if you’re lucky enough to find it. Both versions are quite rare. The malt content of the blend came from the Ardmore distillery and I believe the same can be said for the single malt.

1995 was the year I left Aberdeen so sadly I missed Scotland The What? doing their ‘The Final Fling’ performance, which they did at His Majesty’s Theatre. I first performed there in 1985 with the Aberdeen Opera Company and later in the 1980s with the Aberdeen Youth Festival so I have fond memories and a shared experience with Buff, Steve and George. I have the DVD of ‘The Final Fling’ and 2019 marks 50 years since Scotland The What? was formed so perhaps I’ll watch it with a dram of The AuchTerTurra to celebrate their memory.

Here’s the trio in 1994 declaring how proud they are to be Scottish:

Ardmore 8yo – Claxton’s ‘A Dram A Day’ Charity Bottle

Bought: Gauntley’s of Nottingham, 3rd February 2017

87/100 – Whiskybase (average from 11 member votes)

If you’re a fan of YouTube whisky reviews like I am you’ve probably come across Ben Bowers and his ‘A Dram A Day’ channel. Starting in January 2016 he set himself a challenge to post a whisky review every day for a year, all in the aid of charity. Initially he wasn’t sure he’d manage it but he did, even during the birth of his 3rd child. As the 365 days drew to a close, Claxton’s, a Yorkshire-based independent bottler, offered Ben’s cause a limited edition Ardmore with all proceeds going to charity. After watching most of Ben’s videos I thought it would be rude not to get it. Finished in a Laphroaig cask, limited to 299 bottles and at the cask strength of 55.1%, it sounded wonderful. Also I’d never tried Claxton’s before and their square bottles looked very attractive. I do love a good bottle shape!

Fans of the Ardmore ‘Traditional Cask’ will know how well the Highland distillery’s spirit harmonises with peat. Ralfy, a leading YouTube vlogger, once remarked that the ‘Traditional Cask’ was his favourite peated whisky outside of Islay. Praise indeed and something I agree with. So it doesn’t surprise me that after 11 votes on Whiskybase this special dram has got the excellent score of 87/100. One comment (translated from French) said, “peaty but not in a crazy way either. Gentle on the nose. The high title pushes the sensations high enough, but it remains creamy, not so peated eventually. Youth does not appear.”

Since finishing his challenge I’m delighted to see that Ben got a job with Gordon & MacPhail. I’m sure his whisky videos helped boost his CV as well as helping a worthy charity. Congratulations Ben, and thanks Claxton’s for this awesome Ardmore!

Here’s Ben of ‘A Dram A Day’ with his thoughts about his Ardmore charity bottling (YouTube, January 2017):

Ardmore ‘Legacy’

Bought – Morrisons, 16th October 2014

71.5/100 – Whisky Bible 2016
79.71/100 – Whiskybase (average from 71 member votes)

I held off posting until my copy of the Whisky Bible 2015 arrived in the hope the ‘Legacy’ might be included. No such luck. But nearly 80/100 on Whiskybase from 71 member votes is a respectable rating. Not far behind the Ardmore ‘Traditional Cask’ which scores 83/100.

The Ardmore ‘Legacy’ is 40%, coloured, and probably chill-filtered. It’s replacing the ‘Traditional Cask’ which was 46%, coloured and unchill-filtered. Already you can see the complaints that will be raised about the Legacy replacing the Traditional Cask. But, I’m a firm believer in letting a whisky speak for itself, rather than damn it by comparison with what came before. The Traditional Cask was, in Ralfy’s words, the best peated whisky outside of Islay. The Legacy is a mix of peated and unpeated malt, so a different beast completely.

Update (Feb 2016): Jim Murray has included the ‘Legacy’ in his Whisky Bible 2016 where he says “must win an award for the most disappointing whisky of the year” oh dear! He summarises with “a massive shock and disappointment.”

Here’s a video about the Legacy by the German reviewer Horst Luening of Whisky.com:

Ardmore Legacy 70cl

Ardmore ‘Traditional Cask’

Bought – ASDA, 25th October 2013

88.5/100 – Whisky Bible 2013
86/100 – Luke Rymarz YouTube Review

I’ve seen the Ardmore ‘Traditional Cask’ teasing me on the shelves of several local supermarkets since I started my whisky collection a few months ago. Ardmore is one of the closest distilleries to my home town of Aberdeen, so I eventually had to buy it. ASDA won me over with a tempting discount. I’ve seen Ardmore being classed as a Speyside distillery because of its location but it proudly says “Highland” on the bottle. Situated just south of Huntly, I’ll have to pay the distillery a visit sometime. I believe it’s possible by prior arrangement.

The cardboard tube that contains the bottle proudly says “non-chill filtered, 46%” which is pleasing to see. The only negative, which both Jim Murray and Luke Rymarz pick up on, is the lurking existence of caramel. Jim even says in his review that he was asked by the people at Ardmore what he’d suggest to help improve the flavour and he said to cut out the caramel. Sadly they didn’t listen. Nevertheless he still rates the distillery in his top 10 and enjoys the dram from this fine Ardmore example.

The Ardmore distillery provides whisky for use in the production of the Teacher’s blend.

Ardmore Traditional Cask 70cl