Thursday, 31 March 2016

Glencadam, two new releases

Early in February, I received an email from Angus Dundee Distillers telling me about some new releases from The Glencadam and asking if I'd like some samples. Of course, we love emails like this, especially as we've really had little exposure to this distillery. Checking the liquid log, just two listed; the first was from a 'Drinks by the Dram' Advent Calendar back in 2013 when I was treated to a sample of their 21 Year Old. The only other expression was a superb single cask release from retailer and independent bottler Abbey Whisky, with a sample from their ‘Rare Casks’ series 22 Year Old

The Glencadam Distillery
Once again I had to turn to Malt Whisky Yearbook to find out a little more about the Glencadam Distillery. Located in Brechin, the Eastern Highlands, a region once known for its whisky smuggling past, whisky production has been decimated in recent years with the closures of North Port, Glenesk (Hillside) and Lochside distilleries. Just Fettercairn and Glencadam have survived, and apart from a short period between 2000 and 2003. The Glencadam Distillery seems to have been in continuous operation since it was founded in 1825. Angus Dundee Distillers bought the distillery in 2003 (they also own the Tomintoul Distillery) and its capacity of 1.3 million litres per year puts it at the same size as the Ardbeg and Scapa distilleries.

Michael Jackon’s Malt Whisky Companion tells us that the ‘House Style’ is; Creamy with a suggestion of berry fruits, and recommends that this is enjoyed with dessert, or after dinner
A few weeks after the original email was received, a wee package arrived, beautifully presented, with two small samples of their latest releases, and one evening towards the end of the month I sat down and enjoyed these two new Whisky Discoveries
Whisky Discovery No.1589

Glencadam Origin 1825 NAS 40% abv
Highland Single Malt
Circa £30.00 70cl
First out of the box was the recently released Glencadam Origin 1825 the first No Age Statement whisky that the distillery has launched. We’re told from the Press Release that a very special collection of casks was chosen, with the final selection consisting of a unique marriage of whisky matured in first-class American white-oak bourbon barrels with whisky “finished” in the finest Spanish Oloroso Sherry butts. 

So What Did I Think?
The nose has a creamy buttery feel to it with sweet floral notes alongside melting vanilla ice-cream. Hints of tangerine start to come through a little later. On the palate, it’s soft and light with a creamy fruitiness finishing with gentle spices and hints of cinnamon. The sweet fruit remains to the very end which turns a little dry.

So the ‘marketing speak’ was perhaps a little nonsense as Scotch whisky can’t be ‘unique’! Firstly the SWA (Scotch Whisky Association) have strict rules of what can be and what can’t be done with maturing Scotch whisky. Secondly, American ex-bourbon barrels and Oloroso Sherry butts have been the norm for way longer than I’ve been drinking whisky!

I must admit I was immediately sceptical of another average NAS whisky launch but much to my delight, I was pleasantly surprised by this new release. Whilst not overly challenging, this is a very pleasant, dare I say it, ‘entry level dram’ and while it is a no-age-statement whisky they’ve decided to pitch it at a price point that reflects its position in the full range rather than ‘have our eyes out!

The original press release was dated October 2015, but I’ve not seen it on general sale from the on-line retailers yet and I tried to revisit it at Whisky Live London recently and it was unavailable here too.

Whisky Discovery No.1590

Glencadam 25 Year Old 46% abv
Highland Single Malt
Circa £250.00 70cl
The second sample was of their soon to be released 25 Year Old, with the press release describing this to be a limited release of just 1600 bottles with each bottle individually numbered. Master Distiller, Robert Fleming, deemed that the time was right to bottle the whisky at 25 years of age when the combination of exciting flavour notes such as sweet malt, exotic fruit and mixed nuts had reached a wonderful balance. 

So What Did I Think?
The nose was simply glorious! I’d only received a small sample but wanted this to last forever! Its maturity was instantly apparent with those ‘old malt’ notes. It wasn’t particularly sweet, but the light fruity notes picked up on the Origin were evident. This too was a delight on the palate. Creamy, light and wonderfully fragrant and gently spiced while ‘old malt’ notes of polished oak hinted at its vintage. 

I really loved this vintage release, and while it was just a small sample I sat and savoured this for as long as I could resist draining the glass. £250 is a great deal of money to spend on a bottle of whisky, and it’s certainly not something I consider on a regular basis, but I try to put it into context. There are 14 ‘healthy’ drams in each bottle (a single is rarely enough!) so think of it as 14 instalments for 14 special evenings over a period of time of your choice. I tried to revisit this at Whisky Live London recently too, but sadly it hadn’t travelled down with the team.

Want to find out more? You can find Glencadam on-line here and across social media with FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

Slàinte! Dave

No comments: