William’s Wednesday

Today i’m trying William Cadenhead’s 43yo blend, released last year [2016]. I know by now everyone knows all the things, but just incase you missed it, it consists of ‘45% malt and 55% grain, the whiskies are from Glenfarclas, Glenlivet and Invergordon’ [Cadenhead]. It’s really not a bad a price [€219, Apr ’17], given the age and the 45% malt content.

William cadenhead deconstruction

In a perfect world, id first be trying an aged Invergordon, followed by a similarly aged Glenlivet & Glenfarclas. Saving the above for another day, i warmed up with drop of a Port Dundas followed perversely by an Edradour 1972, simply because i wanted to. Distilling wise at least, they are both from the same era.


Edradour 1972 G&M CC Brown label 40% WB79.50[2] [WF]68 WM63[3]

This will be between 10-12 years old WB.

Edradour 1972

  • N: Dusty toffee apples, mildew wafers, dried coconut, straw, freshly cut red pippin apples, dry & faded potpourri, finely ground nuts, strawberry ice-cream, shortbread, hints of cheese on digestives with some port,… There’s a fair poke coming from this 40%’er.
  • T: Initially sharp & strong then soft & soapy [lathers up quick], then shampoo, industrial/metals and drying. Yikes, it’s really rather ugly, what a shame.
  • F: Attempts at some normality after the freak show. Chocolate tries a move in a desperate attempt to disguise the shampoo, accompanied by some mildly sweet witch hazel.
  • C: There’s a fairly broad consensus among the commentators regarding this one – it’s best for nosing. A real shame that nose didn’t translate.

No score


To the main event

cadenhead 43yoWilliam Cadenhead 43yo blend [2016] 44.2% WB88.38[31] BWA+ OMoH8/10 Caden.

  • N: Im nosing plenty of straight Invergordon but with a burned & buttery vanilla note, pink [strawberry] ice-cream, foosty-sweet dunnage bourbon-sugar globules, grassy dried lemon moving to a dense lemon drizzle cake, sweet & sweaty picnic food, some old larder activity… bits of Action Man [the hands especially] – I’ll stop there! In short: foosty, dry and fruity.
  • T: Comes in somewhat creaking yet with pursed lips, determined to put on a show. More burnt rubber [from the Glenfarclas I imagine], but that’s a sideline really. It’s very fruity [grain-fruity], with more burnt sugars, before all those years in oak come to light.William cadenhead
  • F: Burnt vanilla, sweet oily varnish and match smoke. It’s rather dry with lots of oaky grain vanilla cream. More burnt match at the death, more soft & sour vanilla cream and more oak with a dry grapey char. A deceptively long finish given time.
  • C: Even though the majority of blends usually contain a 60/40 or 70/30 grain-to-malt ratio, best think of this as a ‘malt assisted’ single grain whisky. It’s the Invergordon that clearly leads. I perceive the Glenlivet to be a compliant passenger whilst the Glenfarclas has come along to mix things up a little. Very interesting indeed – a grain with a difference.

Scores 88 points


Thanks to Chris from soundofwhisky.com for the sample.