Origin: Campbeltown (Scotland)
Type: Single Cask Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Ageing barrel: Ex-Bourbon
Added coloring: No
Owner: J & A Mitchell & Co Ltd.
Average price: € 145.00
Official website: www.cadenhead.scot
“The oldest independent whisky bottler operating today”, as their website states, Cadenhead’s is indeed a leading spirits label, dealing in rum, gin, cognac and, of course, whisky.
Confining ourselves to the latter, Cadenhead’s bottles are both single malt and blended, originating in Scotland and with a line (World Whiskies) dealing with their New Zealand, Australian, Irish, American cousins, etc.
Active since 1842, the company was founded by William Cadenhead by combining a company of London Rum merchants and an Aberdeen spirits company, and distinguished itself by being the first to bottle single malts, i.e. whiskies from a single distillery.
After remaining in the hands of the heirs for several years, following a period of great debt and crisis, it was acquired in the 1970s by J & A Mitchell & Co Ltd, former owners of Springbank, who still own it today.
After more than 100 years, the head office moved from Aberdeen to Campbeltown to take advantage of Springbank’s warehouses.
Several lines are currently available: Creations (blends of up to three casks, of different origins and ages), William Cadenhead (blends of undeclared whiskies, cask strength or 46%), the aforementioned World Whiskies, Small Batch (divided into single cask, cask strength and 46%), Closed Distilleries (single cask and cask strength from distilleries no longer active) and Authentic Collection (only single cask at full gradation).
The bottle under review is from the latter line, a small batch with a whisky distilled in 1992 and bottled in July 2019 (and yes, it’s declared cask strength despite the admittedly unimportant gravity).
The colour of the whisky is a beautiful golden yellow.
The nose is very smooth and fresh, slightly mentholated. Baked pear, malt, marzipan, a puff of wood. In some ways, it seems younger than its 27 years.
On the palate, there’s an immediate hint of leather, together with a pinch of chilli, which anticipate cooked and tropical fruit, plums and ash, which become more present with time, while the alcohol gives a decisive push to the aromas as a whole. A profile that alternates between sweet and dirty, a caress in a rough and oily glove, very unusual. On the length, an undercurrent of wood emerges.
The finish is again ash, leather with tropical fruit, like eating a mango on which a cigarette has been extinguished.
A whisky with a strong personality, with little compromise and even less pandering, imperfect and proud to be so.
More from Cadenhead’s in the blog:
Cadenhead’s Arran 22yo
Cadenhead’s Balblair 8yo Small Batch
Cadenhead’s Ben Nevis 21yo
Cadenhead’s Bowmore 17yo
Cadenhead’s Bruichladdich 22yo
Cadenhead’s Clynelish 17yo
Cadenhead’s Dalmore 18yo
Cadenhead’s Glen Grant-Glenlivet 20yo
Cadenhead’s Glenrothes 1997 20yo Small Batch
Cadenhead’s Ledaig 22yo
Cadenhead’s Rosebank 15yo