The Cadenhead monthly outturn has been an onslaught of
financial doom, disappointment, wonderful experiences and an expansion of
knowledge. Enthusiasts knew that one particular month would deliver a Muhammad Ali salvo of epic proportions and thus one Friday morning, World War 3 was
Personally, I’ve had mixed success with the bottles this
year. You cannot hope to catch ‘em all despite some believing in a god given
right to do so. That particular Friday morning I was beset with technical
problems whilst trying to work from home. Once a recovery had been made and
some equilibrium established, I was fortunate to grab one bottle for which I’m
thankful. Top of my list would have been the 40-year-old Banff, the last cask
Cadenheads have from this closed distillery, but it wasn’t to be. On the
grapevine I have heard it’s an oddity and one I hope is opened and experienced
by all. Its disappointing yes, but it wasn’t a Glen Mhor or Tormore which would
have been almost a match for Maybot’s dissatisfaction come 9th June
to put it mildly.
Next up on the hit list was a 39-year-old Caperdonich with
its epic colour thanks to a long duration in a sherry cask. This distillery is
Mark Watt’s (Cadenhead master of ceremony) favourite, who rumour has it never
travels without a bottle from this lost Speyside distillery. Unleashing another
cask of Caperdonich from the Cadenhead archives must have been a bitter pill.
It represents the oldest Caperdonich that I can recall, as normally they’ve
been encamped in the teens and twenties.
The distillery itself despite being established on the crest
of a whisky boom in 1898, was open for only a fraction of its existence. The
Pattison Crisis and its seismic effects on the industry forced Caperdonich to
close its doors in 1902. The distillery stood silent for a remarkably long
period, until 1965 in reality when a surge in demand brought to life this
silent distillery previously known as Glen Grant Number 2. Refurbished
internally, the distillery was revived by Glenlivet Distillers and such an event
heralded a new name thanks to its water source.
At last Caperdonich was a working distillery and remained in
production until the turn of the millennium, when a change in ownership
prompted a culling of distilleries within the Pernod Ricard ranks. This ageing distillery
with no real single malt presence or history, was an easy candidate for closure
and sadly Caperdonich is no more.
The price for this bottle was £360 and an entirely
reasonable one given the level of flipping most releases receive nowadays.
Remember those folk orchestrating being first, grabbing bottles to immediately
turn a profit? Welcoming auction sites on every corner with their vans, ready
to load up and sell? These fellas are responsible for the increasing cost of
whisky more than barley, technology or taxation. I’m sure when discussions are
held across Scotland and new releases are being formulated, there’s the price
they believe is reasonable and then potentially the secondary market prevention
For the record having managed to acquire a bottle that many
were dying to try, this was split either into 10cl or 5cl and the cost was
split according to the Cadenhead retail price. No profit, no hoarding, just
opened, split and hopefully enjoyed. I’ve seen this bottle for sale at one
online retailer for £580, a sweet mark-up, and I’m sure it’ll appear on the
secondary sites soon enough.
Distilled in 1977, before spending 39 years in a sherry butt
and being bottled at 50.4%, resulting in an outturn of 462, needless to say
this sold out quite promptly and it’s a privilege to sit down with such a
Colour: cinder toffee
Nose: immediately the impression is one of a great cask, it
has that old wood and distinguished presence. There’s a surprising earthiness
and resin-like foreboding as we dive into the cinnamon and flat Cola aromas.
Vanilla? Yes, a buttery popcorn as well and plenty of chocolate shavings
combining with plump figs, beeswax and those luscious leathery qualities. Hints
of treacle, a rich toffee and the freshness of ginger.
Taste: delicious symmetry here with plenty of sherry
influence but not unbalanced. I’m almost thinking of a Tiramisu with the layers
of flavour with cream, sponge and underneath it all that robust coffee
influence. Sweet cinnamon, a slight drying finish with elements of raisins and
Overall: dangerously drinkable, this is a wonderful whisky
to sit back with and watch the evening fade away. The nose is invigorating and
detailed, with arguably the palate a little more modest but so juicy and ravishing,
it’s a shame there’s nothing left.
Labels: 1977, cadenhead, caperdonich, closed distillery, Speyside