Glencadam 30yo 1975/2006 (54.4%, Dewar Rattray, Cask Collection, Bourbon Cask #7588, 216 bottles)

Why not make it a double bill, and review our third Glencadam. Both Glencadam’s I reviewed earlier managed to score a nice 85 Points, so let’s see if this one does better. This particular on is 30 years old, and by itself it’s older than both previous examples put together. This is another one from the attic, since it was released back in 2006. The difference couldn’t be greater when comparing it to the Glencadam I just reviewed. It is twice the age and this one comes from a Bourbon cask, surely it will do better?

Glencadam 30yo DRColor: Full gold, and only slightly lighter than the 15yo.

Nose: Half sweet and nice biscuity barley. Slightly spicy and reminds me of old Dutch Jenever. Definitely some Bourbon influences. Some waxy elements, but not much. In fact the Whisky smells quite young and vibrant and not at all would you expect it to be 30 years old. Fresh, hints of citrus and only mere hints of vanilla. Dusty wood completes the nose. That’s it, not much more is happening. After a while more fruit comes to the fore. Sweetish yellow fruits. Some unripe banana skin. Adding to the structure of banana comes powdered coffee-creamer, in the smell a creamy variant of vanilla. Dusty and slightly dried out ice-cream after you spilled it and didn’t clean it right away. Given some time the freshness takes a back seat and the whole is nice but also rather dull. Not a very active cask I’m afraid. Having said that, it does smell like something from the past.

Taste: Wood, paper and cardboard and after that a short, sharp attack, quickly followed by a short sweet note. After the sweetness comes some woody bitterness. Distant dull vanilla. Waxy again. Cold candle wax. So the body is present and almost chewy, yet surrounded by dry paper and woody notes. A nice old Bourbon matured Whisky, but not a stellar one like 1972 Caperdonich or 1976 Tomatin, to name but a few. Here also some fruit emerges, but again a bit dull. Dried bits of pineapple and some old broken almond bits, you sometimes find in the couch. Luckily the sweetish and fruity note dominate the body, not leaving much room for the woody bitterness. The finish has medium length, but there isn’t much happening afterwards. What stays around for the longest, apart from general (cardboardy) creaminess, is a sour note you get from (new) oak.

Not bad, quite nice, but also not spectacular as well. No real off notes and nothing (bad) overpowering the whole. Still a nice one to pick up when all of its distant relatives are sold out. Definitely a lot better than most of the modern Whiskies though. I’ll have fond memories of this nevertheless.

Points: 85

Caperdonich 26yo 1980/2007 (56.2%, Dewar Rattray, Bourbon Cask #7349, 164 bottles)

Earlier this month my Whisky club reconvened again and this time we picked Glen Grant and Glen Grant 2 as the subject of choice. Glen Grant 2 is better known as Caperdonich. This 1980 was my entry into the line-up and got a lot of thumbs up. Not the winner in the end, because what Whisky could compete with the great Glen Grant, Gordon & MacPhail bottled to celebrate the wedding of Charles and Diana (the clear winner in my opinion). Also present was a highly praised Duncan Taylor Caperdonich from 1972 and two Murray McDavid Missions from 1968 and 1969…

Caperdonich 26yo 1980/2007 (56.2%, Dewar Rattray, Bourbon Cask #7349, 164 bottles)Color: Dark gold.

Nose: Vanilla, but a very strict kind of vanilla. Lots of influence from the wood. Spicy vanilla. Buttery and creamy. Demerara sugar. This also has a nice luxurious paper like quality to it. Old warehouse full of ageing Malts. A wonderful old Malt this turns out to be. The (dried) spiciness is quite complex. Light honey and nutmeg. Have you ever treated yourself at home to a quality vanilla ice-cream and didn’t do the dishes right away? Remember the smell of the dried out ice-cream at the bottom of the bowl? It’s in this very Whisky. Nice! Dried leaves partly from forest plants and partly from dried herbs and to a lesser extent: pencil shavings.

Taste: Vanilla again, but also a hoppy character. You also try the occasional beer don’t you? Toffee and caramel. Just the right amount of sweets, combined with a very zesty, although, tiny hint of fruity acidity. Red fruits, little forest strawberries, half-dried raspberries and other red berries. Where in most cases the acidity isn’t all that well-integrated, here it works like a charm. The fruitiness continues well into the long finish where the hoppy (cannabis?) bit returns. Is there even a tiny, tiny hint of coconut? All of this is given a good and astringent backbone of oak, that is aiding the Whisky along and giving it character. It’s not overpowering, just, but definitely in there. The high strength is noticeable but the Whisky is never hot.

What a great Malt this is. Fantastic development over the time you’re trying it and what wonderful flavours this gives off. This may take water very well, but I have never been feeling the need to do that yet. Thankfully I still have quite some left in this bottle to play around with and mostly, to enjoy myself with it. A great buy. Sad this distillery is no longer producing Whisky. But you never know how modern Caperdonich would have turned out in the first place. Luckily the old Caperdonichs are often stellar, especially from Bourbon casks.

Points: 88

Glentauchers 8yo 2005/2013 (46%, Dewar Rattray, For the Specialist’s Choice The Netherlands, Sherry Puncheon #900389, 403 bottles)

We are now in the middle of the rise of NAS Whiskies and very soon most Whiskies in our regular shops will have a names instead of a number or a vintage even. Whiskies that do have an age statement will be confined to airports and other travel retail outlets. But that’s only one of a few possible futures. What will happen to the Independent bottlers? Will they have a way to survive. Today many of them are capable of releasing pretty good Whiskies, although mediocrity is creeping into their products as well. How long will casks of Whisky be available to them? Are we going to see only affordable yet young Whisky from them as we already see with NAS Whiskies from the distilleries themselves. After the Ledaig I reviewed last, here we have another young Whisky coming from a Sherry cask. Glentauchers this time. Earlier I reviewed an older Glentauchers. also from a Sherry cask that was pretty good to say the least…

Glentauchers 8yo 2005/2013 (46%, Dewar Rattray, For the Specialist's Choice The Netherlands, Sherry Puncheon #900389, 403 bottles)Color: Full gold.

Nose: Sherried, creamy and fresh. Herbal and woody. Nice creamy oak, yes creamy oak. Fruity candy. Very likeable. Powdered. Quite a lot of vanilla. It really smells like a Sherry cask made with American oak.

Taste: Creamy and funky Sherry. Real acidic fruitiness right from the start. The creaminess and fruitiness don’t necessarily mix together well, especially when a paper-like note appears. In time that strange mixture passes and reveals more sweetness with the vanilla coming back here too. Paper and cardboard make up the finish, but not by itself. Notes from wood, mocha, Cappuchino, cigar box and creamy vanilla are also here to stay but mainly the fruity acidity returns with a vengeance. Whisky candy. Do you know those fruity gello’s in dark chocolate. That kind of fruity acidity contrasted by sweet dark chocolate. Accept this and you’ll be ok. Interesting stuff.

Although this has some flaws, it is also highly drinkable. This may not fetch the highest score, but it most certainly is nice to drink. Don’t analyze this to death, just grab it for the fun of it. Make it your daily drinker. I often rant a bit about reducing Whiskies, because sometimes the reduction makes the Whisky thin and watery. This time however I will hold my tongue, since I don’t feel reduction hurt the final product. It is good like this. I’ll stop now and pour myself another dram.

Points: 84

Macduff 10yo 2000/2011 (46%, Dewar Rattray, for Specialists Choice, First Fill Sherry Butt #5788, 360 bottles)

Macduff 10yo 2000/2011 (46%, Dewar Rattray, for Specialists Choice, First Fill Sherry Butt #5788, 360 bottles)Finally a younger expression of Macduff. Not one I predicted in the last Macduff review, would be from the nineties, but already one from the new millennium. We’ll see what happens next time. All the Macduffs I reviewed up untill now were all in their thirties, this time we go back to basics with a good old ten year old from the year 2k. Lets see if the computers monitoring the distillation process didn’t go berserk.

Color: Copper

Nose: Raisins and fat Sherry. Pencil shavings. Creamy oranges. Nice soft and velvety wood. Milk chocolate and warm chocolate milk. Hint of cranberry. Pretty meaty if you ask me. Curious mix of red fruit with spicy wood and chocolate. Licorice root. Intriguing.

Taste: First a short, sharp, spicy and slightly bitter bite, than the (slower) sweetness comes into the mouth. Again pencil shavings and licorice. Excellent sweetness and the pencil shavings are great. Also some ashes. Lots of not too dark chocolate although later on, the wood turns a little bit bitter turning the milk chocolate into a darker kind. Also over time, the sweetness seems to be more and more out-of-place, disturbing the balance a bit.

A nice daily drinker or a Sherry grenade. Well, it’s not a Sherry bomb, and I feel the reduction worked well this time. I obviously haven’t tasted this at a higher strength, but I have noticed that adding water to a first fill red Sherry, gives the Whisky a sharp edge. This example is far from sharp. Very drinkable and very nice nevertheless.

Points: 84

Caol Ila 21yo 1984/2006 (58.5%, Dewar Rattray, for The Nectar, Belgium, Refill Bourbon, Cask #6266, 251 bottles)

Caol Ila was founded in 1846 and rebuilt in 1879 and 1972, and in 1974 six new stills were installed. As of 1999 also unpeated whisky is made, which is nice, but also makes you wonder about single casks sold to independents since that date. Mainly used for the Johnnie Walker blends, but more and more used as a single malt due to the popularity of Islay malts. If I’m not mistaken the first official bottlings were the Flora & Fauna 15yo and a few Rare Malt editions. In 2002 the 12yo, 18yo and a cask strength were released and a few years later a Moscatel finish Distillers Edition and Moch were released. During that time also three versions of a 25yo were released, I know were pretty good.

This whisky was distilled on December 12th 1984 and bottled 21 years later on September 6th, 2006, and was bottled for Belgian outfit, The Nectar.

Color: Light Gold.

Nose: Fat Peat with ash. Very leafy, as in fresh, non-musty wet leaves and crushed dried leaves. Sweet and balanced. Green apple skin. Sweaty, tarry and with distant flowery perfume. Hints of wood. Crushed beetles, (not Beatles). Sea with some smoke and late (dare I say unexpected) fruitiness.

Taste: Sweet and chewy, with elegant peat. Nutty, almonds and some walnut. Some white pepper and plants. Also the sweat returns which fits the profile. Nice balance. It has some unexpected fresh sourness in the warming finish. No wood to speak of, but it has the wood spice. Finally, some salt on the lips, during the yellow fruity finish (apricots and peaches obviously). Astonishing.

I quite like this. Due to its perfect sweetness this is dangerously drinkable. Not as complex as I might have hoped, but hey, it’s not a super old Islay, and we don’t drink those for their finesse do we? Caol Ila in al its guises is a very nice alternative to all the other (increasingly expensive) brothers from Islay.

Points: 90