Ardmore

From Àird Mhòr meaning "great height"

From Àird Mhòr meaning "great height"

Sitting in the green, rolling hills of the Garioch in Aberdeenshire, Ardmore makes up the key component of Teacher’s Highland Cream, with very little being bottled as a single malt.

Ardmore was built in 1898 by Adam Teacher, son of William Teacher, for the sole purpose of producing malt whisky for the family firm’s blended scotch. Teacher purchased the land on which to build his distillery from an old family friend, Col. Leith-Hay. The location could not have been more perfect: water was plentiful, peat could be cut from the nearby moorland and the farmland of the Garioch was provided a plentiful source of barley. Above all, Teacher constructed Ardmore beside the mainline railway between Aberdeen and Inverness.

The distillery was expanded from two stills to four in 1955, and in 1974 was further increased to eight. In 1976, Ardmore was incorporated into Allied Distillers, who in 2001 removed the old fashioned coal-fired boilers in favour of a modern steam system. However, this presented the distillers at Ardmore with a significant problem. The roaring coal fires had created certain hotspots on the stills which contributed to the distillery’s full-bodied palate, and subsequently much of the distillery character was lost. To remedy the situation, extreme lengths were gone to to replicate these hotspots by bending special kinks into the new steam coils, which remedied the situation and restored the original Ardmore style.

Ardmore’s committed following is partly due to its short supply as a single malt, but is also down to its individual flavour. The peat that is cut in the east of Scotland is very different to that which is cut in the western isles or coastal areas. This is due to the rugged and treeless terrain in the where the peat is earthy and smoky. In the east, a much larger proportion of the land is covered in woodland and forest. Speyside and Aberdeenshire peat imparts a distinctive wood-smoke aroma on the whisky as a result of the much higher proportion of ancient tree roots found in the soil.