That’s what separates the Ardmore and GlenDronach distilleries in the Highland region of Speyside, home to quite a few other distilleries as well. Yet, the finished products offered by these two houses are so different, that they seem as if they could come from entirely different categories of whisky.
GlenDronach 12 year old offers the creamy smoothness so often associated with the Speyside malts. According to Michael Jackson, the coal-fired direct-flame stills used at GlenDronach are responsible for more pronounced caramel and toffee notes than in many other whiskies from the region. He explains precisely why in his Complete Guide to Single Malt Scotch, but gets a little too scientific for me….. something about uneven heating and hot-spots. For more information about the distillery and all the whiskies currently available, visitwww.glendronachdistillery.com, and don’t worry about the hot-spots. Just enjoy!
Ardmore, not even ten miles southwest of GlenDronach, is an entirely different animal. The robust peatiness of its Traditional Cask expression might lead one to believe that, in the same way the Baltimore Colts Packed up in the middle of a snowy winter night back in 1983 and moved to Indianapolis, someone simply picked up one of the Islay distilleries (think Laphroaig or Lagavulin) and plunked it down again in a nice cozy spot in the middle of the Highlands. The scotch savants at Royal Mile Whiskies call it “a hidden mainland gem for Islay fans”. For more about Ardmore, go to www.ardmorewhisky.com.
Interestingly enough, both GlenDronach and Ardmore are major components of the Teacher’s blends, and both are also available at My Sherry &more in the $50 - $60 range, alongside a selection of some sixty-plus other single malts.