15 Year Old Oloroso Sherry Cask Finish from Glencadam
Followers of Inverurie Whisky Shop will know that we are huge fans of the Highland Distillery of Glencadam.
The relatively little known distillery is widely seen as a newcomer to the Single Malt market, despite being founded in 1825, around the same time as our staple malt names such as Glenlivet, MacAllan and GlenDronach.
The name “Glencadam” comes from the area known as “The Tenements of Caldhame”, plots of ground given to the burghs of Brechin for food production. The name roughly translates to the Valley of the Cold Home, somewhere many places on Scotland could lay claim!
Opened by a Mr Cooper in 1825, it was sold to David Scott in 1827 and it remained in the family until 1891, though many of these years were spent rented to various distillers. It was mothballed during both World Wars to be used as barrack accommodation, and was owned by a Hiram Walker in 1950 until 2000 who, under the new guise of Allied Domeq, closed Glencadam.
Under the new stewardship of Angus Dundee, Glencadam released it's first Single Malt in 2005, a 15 year old. Until now, Glencadam had always been seen as a workhorse for the Blending market, producing premium whisky for presitgious blends.
15 Year Old Glencadam holds a special place for us, having recently launched our own single cask, now sold out, which was matured for 15 years in a First Fill Bourbon Cask.
The latest edition, released under the guidance of long-term distillery manager Robert Fleming and new Master Blender Iain Forteath, has been matured in Bourbon Casks and finished in Oloroso Sherry Casks, being bottled at Glencadam standard strength of 46%abv.
Always keen to try new whiskies from the Glencadam stables, as soon as this new release arrived I was excited to try it.
I've never been a believer of the notion of an inferior 'neck pour' however, when I tried my first pour of this, I felt disappointed, the whisky seemed watery and weak and I was really unsure of what I had poured.
However, less than 5 minutes later I tried another taste from the same pour and what a difference! It became the whisky I hoped it was. I've been wondering if my palate was tainted, or the glass was not quite clean, but something prevented that whisky from opening up straight from the bottle. So I shelved the whisky, and waited 24 hours.
Pouring a fresh dram, it was an instant improvement on the initial dram. Nutty on the nose, with creamy, toffee notes underlying. The American Oak, ex-Bourbon maturation influence is obvious. A sweetness in the form of freshly made fudge and banana bread is complimented by oak and hazelnuts. The sherry influence comes in subtly, with faint whiffs of polish and leather.
On the palate a balanced mouthfeel akin to a medium-dry wine coats the tongue. Honey on toast retains the bourbon cask base to the flavour, however the sherry influence is now kicking in with bitter dark chocolate and, in time, a sweet, powdered liquorice note emerges. Clove and dark chocolate turkish delight come through with time adding sweetness but drying spices of nutmeg and orange peel, more evident on the finish, round off a very enjoyable dram.
All in all, a very impressive whisky with a great mouthfeel and balanced flavour, complimented by a long and equally enjoyable finish paired with a lovely nose. I'm still not sure what the initial disappointment relates to, it's not something I've experienced before. Maybe there is something in the old neck-pour after all, but I'm far from ready to commit to that!
Exciting times are ahead for Glencadam, with a new visitor centre approaching, allowing tours for the first time, the enthusiasm of the youngest (possibly) Master Blender in the country, Iain Forteath and the experience of Robert Fleming guiding the way, whiskies as good as this one are hopefully only the start of a Single Malt that is more than ready to step up to the mark.