Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Cadenheads April 2016 Small Batch outturn

Long anticipated this one, with some outrageous ages on the cards; Ardbeg 22, Bunnahabhain 39, Speyside 40, Caol Ila 31 and 32!

I showed up to pick up some bottles and ended up dallying with some tasters… micro notes only as I wasn’t expecting to get the opportunity and had to burn through it. 

Notes for the Dalmore will come soon, when time permits.  Speyside 40 is here.

Some great whisky in here again this time.

Balmenach 11 years old, 46% A+

Balmenach%2011-750x1000Nose - Clean and fruity, flinty and lightly herbal. A well balanced, hard oak nose with plenty of fruit. A touch of hand cream, some candy cigarettes… beautiful cask.

Body - Sweet, more candy cigarettes, a little toast and honey

Finish - Medium, fresh and balanced, a little liquorice.

A lovely, fresh, clean whisky from a good cask, a great drinker.

Glenrothes 14 years old, 46% A-

Glenrothes%2014-750x1000Nose - Classic bourbon Glenrothes. Fresh and gently fruity with boiled sweets, pink wafers and polite funk. Ripe nectarine with water, lovely.

Body - Lightly spiced, a touch of tobacco, an oddly sour spice in delivery. Balanced out more with water, the sweetshop balances against the spice, but oddly hollow.

Finish - Quite hot and spicy, sour at the end.

A lovely nose on this one but too young, sour and hot on the delivery. I’d struggle with a bottle of this.

Mortlach 21 years old, 52.1% A⊕

The previous two Mortlachs (Authentic Collection) are two of the best whiskies I had last year, and amazingly still in stock.  This one’s gone now but you should pick up those others.

mortlachNose - More Mortlach heaven. Glace cherry, engine oil, milk tart and whipped cream on exhale. Some pistachio and pipe tobacco. Delicious.

Body - I would have called this for a Springbank… richly oily, big dirty fruit, caraway and mud. Spiced oak.

Finish - Long, numbing wood oils, quite bitter and astringent.

Fabulous nose on this, beautiful delivery, a little bitter at the end but another fantastic whisky.

Linkwood 23 years old, 55.3% A⊕

linkwoodNose - Classy… fresh and mineral behind the middle aged Linkwood cask sweetness. A little deodorant, a touch of lip salve. Jelly babies?

Body – No austerity in the delivery though, big, ripe and important. A touch of tobacco too, delicious.

Finish - Long with lots of structure, lingering sulphur, a touch of spice.

A delicious and well structured Linkwood well on its way to being enormous.

Bunnahabhain 39 years old, 49.4% A⊕+

39 years old, Sherrywood.  Eek!

imageNose - Big, ripe and waxy, real gravitas.  Red berries, burnt toast and toasted wood. Complex sour notes in here as well, coastal with cherry whistles. Very inviting. More toast and wax with water.

Body - A beautifully mature sherry bomb, where the waxy sweetness turns slightly to sour and Asian. Antique furniture, cranberries, candied peel and Marlboro lights. With water, birthday candles and ozone.

Finish - Very long, very ripe, balanced with spikes of chilli and tobacco.

Lives up to the billing. No more sherry wood Islays at Cadenheads for at least 6 months.

Caol Ila 31 years old, 52.1% A⊕+

imageNose - Dreamy. dusty and fruity, very gentle peat with lapsang souchong tea and coconut shell.

Body - So gentle… so sweet. Mille-feuille, charred oak, a recently extinguished candle, but quite a spike of dirty peat in there too.

Finish - Spicy, pink wafers again, but very marked on this one.  Biscuity, vanilla, polite.

Everything you want from an old Caol Ila.  Dreamy, gentle and then roughs you up a bit.

Ardbeg 22 years old, 55.3% A⊕+

Nose - Clean, fruity and gentle on inhale, floor polish and funk on exhale. Berries and mescal, germolene and privet hedge. Quite a lot of gunpowder. Rather strange, very interesting.

Body - Massive. Robust, fruity, sweet and delicious… dusty alien Islay and bandages. More Laphroaig than Ardbeg! Not that I've tasted much Ardbeg this old.

Finish - Long, balanced and remarkably drinkable. Very drying too.

Pretty epic. The nose is weirdly agave (interesting, weird but good) but the delivery is seriously delicious. I didn't get a chance  to try it with water, it was all gone…

The Authentic Collection will be out next with some interesting stuff including a “foreign” whisky, then the next really big guns are due in July.


  1. er, if 40 yr old Bunna and 22 yr old Ardbeg aren't big guns I think I might be afraid! Cheers Ben

    1. The next big guns! Not bigger guns. Well, there's at least one really big, exciting gun.

    2. A 10 year Port Ellen? They finally got that time machine working then...

  2. Oops Ben, I misread. Thanks for the notes. Did you taste the 40 Speyside by any chance?

    1. No not yet, it wasn't in when I went in. But I will do soon - bought a bottle to split with friends.