Cadenhead’s continues to roll out magnificent old casks, closed distillery gold and well judged long term finishes that must make most independent bottlers wonder how they do it. They don’t really seem to be even trying that hard! But it keeps coming. This is part one of the release, the second was just released yesterday, including a 26 year old Macallan and a 14 year old Springbank. The latter is full term matured in what was a full cask of New Zealand whisky shipped over and bottled by Cadenheads. They just filled up the old cask with Springbank juice. That’s why they don’t have to try very hard, they’ve just got so many resources!
I have the Kilkerran Calvados, recent Society Springbank and the just-gone batch of Springbank 15 for notes coming soon, once all these ridiculously massive posts about Xmas whisky are out of the way. They’re all amazing.
Anyway here’s some brief notes on the ones I have tried. Most of this is already out and much of it still in stock.
Littlemill 24 years old A⊕+
Nose - Beautifully fruity and floral, waxed fresh with old cask. Quite an Arran nose with a touch of funk and a touch of grain. Very good.
Body - Quite wooded, spiced and cereal, a little tougher than expected. Refreshers with water.
Finish - Very long, fruity but balanced structure - lovely.
Glenkeith 18 years old, 54.1% A+
Nose - Lovely and sweet, fresh and dusty. Clean but not as light as you initially think, with warm malt and candied orange.
Body - Big, fizzing refreshers, quite warm and zesty. Very balanced sweetness and light cask fruit.
Finish - Quite long, balanced tannins and orange zest. A lovely, clean, "ordinary" whisky.
Body - Ah… beautiful Springbank funk. Quite cheese-like - Stilton. Asian fruit and very sweet behind that, and spicier with water.
Finish - Actually quite a long, cheesey finish. Dirty, but floral and balanced, like Roquefort with truffle honey
Nose - Perfect and very Glenrothes. Quite dusty cereal, blonde wood, green apple and lime marmalade. But like being at the distillery (and Edrington's bottling hall, which evidently just smells like bourbon Glenrothes). Beautiful, though.
Body - Incredibly delicious. Very sweet but gently introduced, with building structure and warm tannins.
Finish - Very long, some sour spice providing balance and some warm wax backing. Fabulous.
I find about 80% of the Ben Nevis I have I don’t like but the others are awesome. It’s a dirty, fruity style that takes very little to tip it over from fascinating and delicious to awful. At least, that’s what it’s like for me. This is one of the good ones.
Body - Sweetly spiced, plywood and balanced sulphur. Kalamata olives?
Finish - Medium, tannic and quite savoury. Those olives are back. Delicious but (as always with Ben Nevis) slightly odd.
I tasted 5 OB Craigellachie last night as part of the tweet tasting and they were all pretty epic. This one was finished in a Sauternes cask by Cadenheads.
Body - Sweet, ripe waxed fruit, bhaklava and lovely wax. Spiced and tannic.
Finish - Quite short in its intensity, but with lingering oak and oils. Classical, but a little "teenage".
Body - Sulphur, sweet red wine, beautifully balanced between the two.
Finish - Medium long, great balance of wine, oak and sweetshop.
A perfectly sulphured, perfectly sherried and satisfyingly sweet whisky.
In Burgundy cask since 2011.
Body - Like licking a joss stick, but with a waxed, tropical fruit backing.
Finish - Long, tannic, dusty wood, very intense.
A fantastic nose on this deep red whisky. Sandalwood and dark fruity dominate. Like Devil's Cask "after hours".
Body - Textbook, but with an unexpectedly cereal depth and an insistent, appley sweetness.
Finish - Very long, robust, coastal. More joss sticks, last night's Marlboro light fag ends and white wine.
Classic Caol Ila with a sweet, cereal twist and big tobacco, lemon top notes.
Body - Big boiled sweets and Jackfruit. Very Asian and quite young, brassy peat. A real, fruity block buster.
Finish - Long, numbing citrus peat, but big mid-rangey tobacco.
And a couple for the road:
Strathmill 19 years old; sweet, musky, big dusty sherry on the delivery.
Fettercairn 22 years old; beautiful, classy wine and tobacco nose. A big sherry delivery but with awkward tannins.