Sunday, 18 February 2018

Cadenhead's January 2018 AC outturn

This has been in the can for over a week but I haven’t had a minute to stick all the photos together.  Everything is still in stock at time of writing except the Bowmore.

North British, 1989, 28 years old, 59.1% A⊕

northbritishNose - Wax and very creamy, sort of medicinal, like a fungicidal cream would smell. There's a beautiful clean, perfumed fruit too - it's like acrylic paint, new magazine but underneath it that reassuringly deep, old cask. A really beautiful nose. More grown up with water, more apple and harder, cut blonde oak.

Body - Big, ripe, very sweet but right on point with the dusty wood. Some spice balances that intense toffee. A snapped cinnamon stick with water.

Finish - Medium with baked apples and warm ginger. A little clove with water.

A really deep, complex whisky for a grain, and very well put together. Totally crushable too. Winter drinking.

Carsebridge 1976, 41 years old, 49.1% A-

carsebridgeNose - More polished, more berries. Furniture. This is restrained and elegant on the nose where the NB was engaging. Again, this is perfumed and masculine, with green apple chews and cold, wet glass. Bright and confident in its age.

Body - Deep, flashes of meatiness and almost wine cask, a really beguiling spice and cinnamon heat…

Finish - and I was warned about this but the middle drops out of the delivery, leaving a short finish with traces of toffee but not much else.

That drop is much less pronounced with water, there's a chalky bonbon thing going on and the finish goes on a little longer, but this doesn't have enough body to it for me.

Tomintoul 11 years old, 56.1% B⊕

tomintoulNose - Cold, young cereal, a little Brett sourness and a crushed flower stalk. Good birthday candle/buttercream icing combo here, and the fruit is a reassuring - apple chews with a touch of face cream. Better with water, creamier and better integrated with more pronounced cask. Very comforting so far.

Body - Gentle, confident and balanced, the wax and chew sweet carries over from the nose. Not too sweet.

Finish - Short but clean, a touch of bitterness.

Workaday but good for it, a fine drammer.

Speyside 19 years old, 49.4% A+

speysideNose - Ripe, slightly on the turn in fact, with caramel and jammy dodgers, men's perfume and marshmallow.

Body - Very creamy but grown up, actually it's a bit like baileys. In that it's really delicious. Some tobacco but the very careful presentation is a delight, it's lush.

Finish - Short-ish but tannins behind the cream make for a good landing. A touch of Sichuan pepper at the end.

This is an extremely well presented whisky (interesting, well put together and no harsh edges) and would make for a perfect gift to get someone into single cask whisky (with a Glencairn)

Balmenach 2004, 13 years old, 53.2% B+

balmenachNose - Some sort of meat pie (lard crust, stewed beef), crayons and women's perfume. Actually it might be lipstick and foundation.

Body - Deep and intense, liquorice torpedoes and the blue bobbly liquorice allsorts. Water softens the liqourice but brings up more of the paint, cloves and a cloying sweetness.

Finish - Long with licked acrylic paint and chewed liquorice root. There's a really lip smacking depth to the sweetness here - at the end there's soft liquorice.

This is a bit of a clumsy whisky, good nose though.

Glen Moray 1992, 25 years old, 46.2% A-

glenmorayNose - Crushed boiled sweets and sawed oak staves. Cooked orange peel and orange lip salve. There's something spa-like here, hot wood and beauty products you can’t buy unless you’re running a spa business. More robust with water, a flamed orange twist.

Body - Wood glue, maybe Pritt Stick, Tang orange powder. Actually, dried malt extract. Less midrange with water, a little orange funk.

Finish - Long with lazily tropical notes to it. Tannic, bitter citrus peel. Fizzy vitamin C drink with water.

Also clumsy but in a different way - it's full of fruit juice and lip smackingly bitter and sour with citric acid. Much more drinkable than the Balmenach but still awkward.

Mortlach 1988, 29 years old, 55.1% A+'


mortlachNose - Deep and meaty, with permanent markers, black olives, roast pork (and rosemary) and a slightly nutty wine cask - yet it's also fruity, with lots of wax and an obviously good cask (cherry lip salve). It's also light and dusty, with vanilla cream. Bright wood glue with water. I wonder what it was in before the sherry butt (if it was, it isn't mentioned)? With time, that sweet, sour, peanut dipping sauce for chicken satay.

Body - Big, nutty but then zesty with flashes of sulphur. Some cardboard. Good red wine richness and more of that meat stew.

Finish - Long and zesty, and Snickers bar with a glass of cold Sauvignon Blanc. Very long actually, the tail end gets more balanced and sweeter as it develops.

The nose is good here but the delivery really shines. Having said that, it is slightly challenging to drink (numbing, astringent, bitterness against that wine cask) and the casking means it's very different to some Cadenhead's Mortlachs of this age from the past.

Aultmore 1989, 28 years old, 43.4% A

Sherry HHD since June 2015 - 2.5 years. A short finish for Cadenhead's.

aultmoreNose - Very big, with rolling tobacco, old wood varnish, whisky soaked raisins and honestly it reminds me of big old whiskies you get under the counter at a whisky festival. More tobacco with water.

Body - Intense wood and lacquer, I can see why this was pulled from the sherry hogshead so soon, it's verging on virgin oak levels of wood. Cigars and stewed tea, fizzers. Mexican hot chocolate with water, with a unexpected fruity acidity, like an espresso that's posher than you're equipped to appreciate.

Finish - Long and bitingly tannic and drying. Licked cigar. Gently dirty with water, like a reeses peanut butter cup thing.

Delicious but it's a bit confused. I was really expecting to love this one but there's too much wood in it for me.

Tomatin 1994, 23 years old, 47.4% A⊕

Sherry HHD since June 2015.

tomatinNose - Fresh and waxy, more paint (yesterday's paint though) with blackcurrant jam and raspberry herbal tea. Strawberries and chocolate raisins with time.

Body - Rich, soft and huge stewed fruits, raspberry and blackberry pie with ice cream and hot, crisp pastry. Extremely drinkable.

Finish - Long with baked brown sugar, pastry and green apple peel.

Approachable, luxurious and delicious. Recommended.

Strathmill 1995, 22 years old, 50.8% A-

Refill port cask since October 2005

strathmillNose - Wider than the Tomatin, more wood but it's chalky and a little bit minty with wood glue and cola cubes. More black fruits with water, and cut plums and shower gel.

Body - Garibaldi biscuits, cardboard and cigar tobacco. Not what I was expecting at all! Cheap milk chocolate and hazelnuts. Astringency catches at the back of the throat, like TCP lozenges. Like liquorice imps actually.

Finish - Medium with lots of sugar, like chewing on those biscuits. A softer finish with water.

Again I had really high expectations of this one, but it's a little ordinary.

Militonduff 39 years old, 44.6% A⊕'

miltonduffNose - Light, a little sour, some washing up liquid (there is a very good way in which this is like this - sort of like new leatherette), quite floral but - very light. Cheap kids orange drink, men's perfume, and faintly, fruit toffee (strawberry I think).

Body - Very, very poised, very elegant. Rich wood but baked plums and soaked raisins. Really rich and complete in its austerity.

Finish - Quite short but backed up by ghostly old wood. The fruit and a certain tannic, charred cask note fades out to the end.

This is the kind of understated, beautiful whisky that just makes sense. It's weirdly light but it does hang together well, in the same way that the Aultmore doesn't.

Bowmore 2002, 15 years old, 54.3% A+'

bowmoreNose - Clean, precise minerality, pure ozone and rock, sugar coated, cold and wet. The cask is very present and very clean. There's a hint of dirty young malt here too. Paint and petrol with water.

Body - Sweet, intense icing sugar and white paint, bitter malt. Softer and more complicated with water, ripe peaches and banana milk. A proper, single cask, indie delivery.

Finish - Long and sweet, candy shells and white pepper. Slightly dirty at the end.

This is really good. If you're struggling to keep up your Bowmore quotas (because you keep necking them) this is a good bet.

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