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Whisky Reviews

Ardray Blended Scotch Whisky, 48% ABV

 

As an ardent fan of Suntory whiskies, I naturally had to pick up a bottle of this Suntory Global Spirits (formerly Beam Suntory) product upon learning of its release. Much to my chagrin, Ardray experienced a limited release to a few markets, such as: London; Shanghai; and in the United States, New York and Los Angeles. As a United States resident outside of those markets, I was still able to secure a bottle :D (thank you Whisky Exchange!) This is where I provide a shameless plug for an earlier 88 Bamboo article detailing the release of Arday. Hopefully we experience a more global release in the near future! Being a concept of Suntory Global Spirits – and being that they have a partnership with Edrington – the masterminds of Arday whisky were provided with an extensive portfolio of malt and grain components to use for this blend. Amongst these were components derived from Bowmore; Highland Park; and Macallan, to name a few. 

Despite being a relatively newer offering to the whisky scene, Ardray has still managed to make quite the name for itself, as it recently captured a gold medal at the World Whiskies Awards in the categories of taste and bottle design. On the subject of bottle design, let’s talk about that for a brief second. The bottle itself may appear unassuming at first, but there is much more than meets the eye. As a direct translation to “Towards the light”, Ardray’s bottle is bright and vibrant, perfectly drawing upon that word play. Perhaps my favorite feature of the bottle is the Ardray label itself, perfectly centered and enveloped in a triangle pointed upward towards the top of the bottle. It’s almost as if we’re being invited to pop the cork and take a sip. Let’s do just that so we can review this whisky!

 

The Specs

48% ABV, 700ML

Natural Color, Un-chillfiltered

No Age Statement (NAS), although some components are as old as twenty years

Tasting Notes

Nose: The nose has so much to offer. I experience much sweetness, with a strong aroma of ocean salt and brine. This nose instantly reminds me of the Yoichi no age statement and Oban 14. Intertwined in this nose is also some slight peat, paired with toasted vanilla; banana; citrus zest; plum; and some caramel. I also detect something else that might make me sound crazy; is that yet again…marshmallow? It can’t be! Those who read my Kaiyō review will remember the prominent marshmallow throughout that dram. With this dram, I can potentially debunk the marshmallow note, as I believe the toasted vanilla could contribute to that aroma.

Palate: My palate is coated nicely from this dram. There is more slight peat amongst crème brûlée; pear; mango; and more citrus zest. The flavors on this dram are all extremely balanced, leading delicately into one another. Nothing overpowers the other, yet each sip may reveal more and more as you work your way through the dram. 

Finish: The finish is medium-long and culminates into more sweetness; pleasant peat; smokiness; and spiciness. The fruits I experienced on the palate linger and ripen, becoming luscious and juicy as the finish transforms.  

My Thoughts 

Ardray blended scotch is a great scotch in general, but more specifically, great for those who want to try scotch and those who want to dip their toes into peated whiskies. Not only are blends more approachable to some, but they can provide a multidimensional tasting experience as well. Depending on the blend, you also get to experience the best of multiple distilleries all poured into one whisky. The base will be the same, but you may discover new notes from dram to dram.

As someone who has been on the record with not being a big fan of peated whiskies, I was hesitant to try Ardray upon popping the cork. The peaty notes struck me and I was instantly reminded of some peated whiskies – which shall remain nameless for now – that I did not enjoy. Needless to say, I ended up pouring and tasting the dram, and voila – here we are today! Ardray is far from a peat monster; its peat levels are more on the subdued end of the spectrum and have honestly opened up my palate to trying and enjoying more slightly peated whiskies.

The great thing about being a blended whisky is that, if you enjoy it, you might just find yourself on the hunt to try some of its components. Since delving into Ardray, I have been on a mission to expose my palate to more peated whiskies by trying some of the Ardray components, Bowmore and Highland Park. Moral of the story: be open to trying new things. Especially in the world of whisk(e)y, there is so much to offer! Suffice to say, I highly recommend this whisky.

 

Images courtesy of Whisk(e)y & Whatnot.

Whisk(e)y & Whatnot
🇯🇵 whisky lover/scotch adventurer

Read his column on 88 Bamboo here!