Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Cadenheads Small Batch Sleeper Hits

As Serge said this morning, these small vattings of two or so casks are often pretty perfect.  The intensity and excitement of single cask but less of the holes or defects.  Here’s a couple that may have slipped under your radar, and one that (thanks to Serge) probably didn’t.

Cadenheads Small Batch, Strathmill 1992, 22 years old, 50.4% A⊕

Bourbon cask. A Diageo malt factory you don't see an awful lot of.

Strathmill 22 SB-cr-400x600Nose - Big, sweet, waxy honey, white flowers with hard oak and granite. There's something about the intensity of the honey sweetness balanced against that structure that makes it really satisfying. Even more floral with water. As is typical for a Cadenheads cask, it's mature but not flabby - vitality and confidence but still with the wood and fruit of age. I wonder if it's the shared warehouse that gives them a common theme…

Body - Fruit, cardboard, toast and honey, tannic but ripe. Like a heavily oaked Sauternes it's the balanced intensity that works. Water detracts though, knocks out the midrange.

Finish - Suddenly this is old beyond its years, soft and wooded, very long and big tannins.

This is a beautiful whisky, exciting and vital but with real maturity.

Cadenheads Small Batch, Glen Elgin 1995, 20 years old, 55.6% A⊕

2 bourbon casks, 474 bottles

Glen Elgin 20 SB 2016-cr-200x300Nose - Bright berries, lacquered with sugar syrup. Red wine cask, candied orange and orange juice. A fantastically sweet, fruity, zesty nose. Behind that, fresh cigar tobacco, magic balloons and Milliput (sets underwater!).

Body - Intensely toffeed, with big warm spice, warm wax and cask, a touch of sulphur and quite winey. So warm… absolutely delicious. Blackberries and honey.

Finish - Medium\long and like eating a crunchy bar. Very dry at the end but with boiled sweets on the tip of the tongue.

Complex, balanced, absolutely delicious and highly recommended. We bought and split a bottle just because it sounded good, and it is.

Cadenheads Small Batch, Tullibardine, 22 years old, 47.3% A+

2 bourbon casks, 528 bottles. This was a sleeper hit until Serge did what he does.

20160301_124401Nose - Sour but classy, it smells expensive but a bit old school. Blueberries in cream, washed down with beer? Actually, that doesn't sound very expensive does it. I want to (and this is starting to become a real badge of honour) drink this out of a cut glass tumbler rather than a Glencairn.

Body - Lemon pith, orange flesh, old cask wax. A touch of cardboard and new magazine. Meatier with water, with very lovely citrus oils.

Finish - A lovely, meaty, waxy feeling to the end on this one. Ripe red apple and cleaning products.

This is austere but very interesting, but also quite delicious.

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