Origin: Speyside (Scotland)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Ageing cask: Ex-Bourbon hogshead refill
Additional coloring: No
Owner: Morrison Distillers
Average price: € 400.00
Official website: www.morrisondistillers.com
When you enter the office of Fabio Ermoli, the mind (and heart) of Lost Dram Selections, it’s a bit like being in toyland: in addition to the bottles that occupy every available shelf, there are myriads of samples of all kinds and qualities, to lose your head in.
And between one chit-chat and the next, with a flick of his hand Fabio places a sample in front of you, ‘here, try this one’, ‘ha, if you want this one too’, and you can only nod in full overload of information and anecdotes crowding your thoughts.
Then you go home, pick up all the little bottles you’ve stuffed in your backpack without even looking at them, and find yourself some incredible goodies.
Càrn Mòr is the independent bottler label of Morrison Distillers, which we have met several times before on these pages, and has been around since it was still called Morrison & McKay.
And it’s from that very era (2018) that the sample I find in my glass comes from, a nearly 30-year-old Caperdonich (distillery closed and demolished years ago), bottled for the Celebration of the Cask series, single cask ex-Bourbon refill that produced 203 casl strength bottles.
Coincidentally, the only other Caperdonich I tried was also a single cask bottled by Valinch & Mallet, another creature of Ermoli’s in cahoots with Davide Romano: I could find some cosmic significance in this, but I’m distracted by the scents of this dram and prefer to stick to the concrete.
On the nose, it’s immediately creamy fruit, a compote of peaches, apricots, ripe pears and white melon at once delicate and intense, accompanied by fragrant panettone, sugar paste, lemon peel and a subtle menthol streak. A warm, waxy background caresses the aromas, giving a connotation of honey and butter that pampers the nostrils. Elegant and full.
And it’s again fruit that show up on the palate, in a lighter and fresher composition that veers towards the tropical, leaving room for spicy notes (ginger, white pepper) and vegetable and mineral components, with the balsamic and mentholated afflatus acquiring more body. In full dissonance with the olfactory aromas, the warm and soft part ends up underwhelming, with honey and vanilla reduced to the rank of extras, while a bitterish line dominates in which tobacco, lemon and touches of rhubarb complete a complex and layered picture.
Quite long finish of vegetal, citrus, white fruit and tobacco notes.
I never hide my predilection for whiskies that know how to surprise me, and this almost 30-year-old is no exception: the dichotomy between smell and taste is disconcerting, it almost seems like approaching two different drams, but it confirms the impressions I had on the other bottling I had the chance to try. If you too like rich and unexpected experiences, Caperdonich is definitely your cup of tea.