The Teacher’s blend is notable for its high malt content and use of peaty malt whisky.
Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky
The peatiness (it comes across as woodsmoke) is balanced by a gentle apple/floral lift, the product of a regime which insists on clear wort and very long fermentation in wooden washbacks. The fires which once raged under the stills added a heavy, mid-palate weight, as did the downward facing lyne arms. When the fires came out, the distillery team spent seven months creating new steam coils with kinks in them to replicate the ‘hot spots’ in the stills which had contributed this flavour.
Since the steam has come in, an unpeated variant [called Ardlair after a nearby stone circle] has also been made.
It was in 1898 that Adam Teacher, son of Glasgow blender William Teacher, decided that the family firm needed its own malt whisky distillery. The site he chose, on the outskirts of the village of Kennethmont in rural Aberdeenshire, was on land owned by family friend Col. Leith-Hay [whose seat Leith Hall is open to the public]. It had water, there was a source of peat nearby, and the immediate surroundings grew barley. As significantly, given the vision Teacher had for the site, the railway between Inverness and Aberdeen ran alongside. By putting in a small branch line he could get casks and cow in, and whisky out.
Ardmore has remained in the Teacher’s stable ever since, providing smoke and also top notes to a blend which still sells over a million cases globally (its main markets today are India and Brazil). The original pair of stills were doubled in 1955 and then doubled again in 1974. Two years later, it became part of the Allied Distillers stable – the same year as the distillery’s Saladin maltings stopped. Its stills remained coal-fed until 2001.
When Allied was dismembered in 2006, Teacher’s, Ardmore and Laphroaig went to Beam and in 2014 it became part of the new Beam Suntory portfolio.
Its importance for its blend has meant that Ardmore has never had a presence as single malt. A quarter cask-finished bottling appeared a couple of years after Laphroaig Quarter Cask, but remained a small-scale release.
It has however built up a small but dedicated following among single malt aficionados who seek out the independent bottlings which appear – those from Gordon & MacPhail and Signatory Vintage appear the most frequently.
- 1898 Adam Teacher, son of William, builds the Ardmore distillery
- 1923 Ardmore becomes a limited company
- 1955 The distillery is extended from two to four stills
- 1974 Ardmore is extended again to feature eight stills in total
- 1976 Ardmore joins Allied Distillers’ portfolio when Teachers merged with the group
- 2001 The distillery became one of the last in Scotland to switch from fire to steam-heated stills
- 2006 Ardmore is sold to Beam Global, along with Teacher’s and Laphroaig
- 2014 The distillery becomes part of Beam Suntory’s extensive world whisky portfolio
- Capacity (mlpa) i
- Condenser Type i
- Shell and tube
- Fermentation Time i
- Filling Strength i
- Grist Weight (t) i
- Heat Source i
- Steam (heavy fuel boiler)
- Malt Specification i
- Ardmore - medium peated, 12-14 ppm. Ardlair - plain malt
- Malt Supplier i
- Bairds, Boort and Crisp
- Mash Tun Material i
- Cast iron body, copper dome
- Mash Tun Type i
- Semi Lauter
- New-make Phenol Level i
- New-make Strength i
- Single Malt Percentage i
- Spirit Still Charge (l) i
- Spirit Still Shape i
- Stills i
- 8 (4 wash, 4 spirit)
- Warehousing i
- 6 dunnage warehouses (3.6 Mola capacity) and 3 racked Warehouses (3 Mola capacity)
- Wash Still Charge (l) i
- Wash Still Shape i
- Washback Type i
- Washbacks i
- Water Source i
- Knockandy Hill (15 springs)
- Wort Clarity i
- Yeast Type i
- Cocktail of Mauri and Kerry pressed yeast
- Visit Website
- +44 1464 831213
- Visitor Opening Hours
Contact distillery for details
Distiller & blender
Beam Suntory's Scotch single malt arm.
The holding company of Laphroaig distillery, now owned by US-Japan entity, Beam Suntory.
Distiller & blender
Glasgow whisky broker that grew into a distilling and blending heavyweight.