In 1898 Adam Teacher, the son of a blender called William Teacher, decided upon opening a malt whisky distillery. The location of the distillery is just outside the Kennethmont village in Aberdeenshire. At the time the land belonged to a friend of the Teacher family, Colonel Leith-Hay. The location was perfect as it had all the necessary products nearby. There was a water source, barely grew in the surrounding fields, access to peat close by as well as a railway line from Inverness to Aberdeen running alongside the distillery. Adam Teacher built a small connection to the main line which made shipping his whisky easy and efficient.
The Ardmore malt has always been a part of the Teachers blend, which sells more than a million cases a year. The production capacity of the distillery was doubled in 1955 to four pot stills, to then be doubled once again in 1974 to keep up with demand. It’s importance to the Teacher blend means production has always been focused on that particular malt as opposed to producing their own single malt, although small batches of quarter casks have been bottled over the years. Passionate groups of collectors also look out for the independent bottlings of Ardmore which occasionally appear at auctions.
The few Ardmore bottlings are a 25-year-old, a 30-year-old and a full bodied, mid peated and smoked whisky that has been matured in ex-Bourbon casks and finished in quarter casks. Quarter casks are a quarter smaller but in the same dimensions meaning a higher wood to whisky ratio, speeding up maturation and also adding its own unique characteristic to the whisky. The malt from here used for the Teachers blended Scotch whisky, which is the main product of Ardmore, is known to add smoke and top notes to the blend. There are also many independent bottlings of Ardmore which are also mainly quarter cask releases.
Ardmore used its own malting and cooperage right until the 1970’s. The distillery was taken over in 1976 and as a result the malting floors were closed, and Ardmore began to source their malt from big suppliers. The malt brought in is slightly peated which gives the whisky produced an extra kick. Some of the old malting floors have been converted into warehouse storage for their increasing supply of Scotch whisky both for blend and single malt.