Lots of big, old whisky at Cadenheads again this month. The release of the three Islays in July produced the predictable flurry of activity with the (excellent) Ardbeg selling out before it hit the shelves, and the June outturn not lasting long enough to keep the London shop in whisky over the summer – something had to be done!
More casks were bottled, and I snuck a quick chance last night to try them and make some scratch notes. Not the 4-5 hour mega session it takes to write the SMWS outturn notes but a pointer and initial impressions.
Some great stuff in here - some extremely well executed finishes and sherry casks, and lots of maturity, most of it in the 25+ years bracket.
There’s more coming too this year, in the lead up to cool, planned bottles like the new Longrow Red…
Dufftown 26 years old, 51% – Very sweet, honeyed, tropical, pepper, wax. Wonderful stuff and probably my favourite. A⊕+
Tamdhu 25 years old, 53.3% – Grapefruit, spice, pepper, very good cask, wax, but a little harsh for 25. A
Dalmore 24 years old, 54.9% – Rum cask. Dark rum intensity, honey comb, lovely wax and orange zest. A cracker, and very Dalmore too. A⊕
Glencadam 26 years old, 55.3% – Marzipan! Ripe and fecund. More orange zest and juice and a sour finish. Lovely, very interesting and tropical burps too (always good). A+
Macduff 26 years old, 51% – Fruity nose, lovely ripe sherry. A little sulphured, but with a great, dry sherry finish and extremely returnable to. A+
Clynelish 20 years old, 55.4% – Sherrywood cask. Beautifully elegant oak and fruit on the nose. Excellent structure, wood, some spice and not too sherried at all (which was my fear). A⊕
Blair Athol, 26 years old, 48.9% – Sherry cask since 2008. Wax, fruit and Oloroso. Just a fabulous body, very well integrated, ripe and beautiful. A⊕+
Tobermory 20 years old, 57.8% – Sherrywood cask. Dark sherry nose, richly dark with raisin and chocolate, but still very bright and structured. Very good indeed. A⊕
Highland Park 27 years old, 53.3% – Claret cask since May 2008. Ripe, musty and delicious. Bright red fruit, quite a lot of spice, and very sweet in the finish with some Vimto. Delicious and refreshing, good sulphur and a tropical finish. But not very Highland Park! Great stuff though. A⊕+
Bruichladdich 22 years old, 53.3% – Elegant and mature, classic Bruichladdich. Great structure with orchard fruit and more pepper. Delicious. A⊕
Bowmore 26 years old, 56.5% – A particularly perfumed, dusty old Bowmore, with some bitterness that offsets the refreshers. Deep and important with a very long, fruity, winey finish. I absolutely adore 26 year old Bowmore! Still in stock at the time of writing. A⊕
Ardbeg 21 years old 53.2% – Bright pear, apples and cologne. Melon and funk on the palate. Big, elegant and brutal – it’s got first day of Spring written all over it. Fag ash in the empty glass. Another smasher!
For me the Dufftown and Tobermory are the picks, although if I was feeling more spendy I’d pick up the Blair Athol and the Highland Park too. Plus all three Islays of course.
Next time in Cadenheads, some more fun looking stuff:
- 15yo Aberlour 54.3%
- Another 14yo sherried Glengoyne (58.2%), initially destined for Japan I believe
- A 26yo Girvan, 57%
- Two 18 year old Linkwoods that are supposed to be very special (53.5% and 52.3%)
- A 25 year old Longmorn, 54.6%
That’s about the time of the new Longrow Red and hopefully, perhaps a Calvados Kilkerran…