After a three-year hiatus [2019: WLP], here we are again. It’s the “BIG” Cadenhead’s Tasting!! This year’s theme, as it transpires, is:
- Maturity & Maturation [refill ex-bourbon in the main]
All of today’s cask samples will be bottled “eventually”.
Fettercairn 1988/2022 34yo Cadenhead Un-Ob cask sample 20/P46-1 [abv unknown]
From a bourbon hoggie, this was re-racked [as a 30yo in 2019], into a fresh ex-bourbon cask.
- N: With a nutty coppery oiliness, sour [grapefruit] fruitiness, Blu-Tac/putty, ice cream, an old dank yet dry loft space,… this one has its charms/quirks. Not dissimilar to yesterday’s 30yo Speyside Distillery dram [WLP88].
- T: I’m guessing this is easily 25yo+. You can tell this was a tired boy in need of the re-rack [as Grant McPherson explained]. I get a butyric hint before the oily nutty coppery fruity profile from the nose, rallies. With an unusual honeyed development,…
- F: ,.. it remains fruity & coppery, slightly closed/fatigued yet charming in its way. Some puckering heat/freshness at the end.
- C: Aah Fettercairn, of course! A charming and quirky old-timer not dissimilar to a 27yo SV bottling I shall be reviewing in due course. Well played [saved] Cadenhead.
Scores 88 points
Benrinnes 1997/2022 24yo Cadenhead Un-Ob. ex-bourbon cask sample #945 53.6%
- N: This nose is harder to read than the others, initially. Eventually, I pick up on a complex fruitiness, floral honey, cream,… Indeed, it’s rather a treasure chest once you begin rummaging. In short, fruity fruity fruity!
- T: Fruity and a touch fizzy. Water tightens it up though it becomes a little austere. Diluted 50/50, I find myself in a citrusy sour malty realm – not unlike that loveable Lowlands blend [WLP], also from Cadenhead’s.
- F: Lively to the last, time and water management make this a more than competent dram.
- C: Warts n all, real treats these.
Scores 88 [fluctuating] points
[Glenmorangie] Single Highland Malt 1985/2022 37yo Cadenhead Un-Ob. cask sample #1007 47.3%
As far as I can tell, when bottled, this will be Cadenhead’s first ever Glenmorangie [as an undisclosed] release.
- N: Instant aahs. This isn’t your everyday whisky. I’m getting plenty of [Daigeo Special Release-rich] fruitiness, [Littlemill-esque] putty cream, and marbled sugar cookies, but it’s the oils that impress the most.
- T: Despite some formidable age, this one has retained body and gracefulness of form, though it is a softly softly approach.
- F: Great for its age, it transcends the official GlenMo profile which tends to remain constant in the 10yo as it is with the 25yo. Concludes with a complex convergence of lactose-y hessian fungal with an entrenched oakiness and thick sour cream.
- C: I was scared to overscore this, aware that I may be carried away in the [malt barn] moment. With a sample taken home, I was in no danger. She’s a cracker, most reminiscent of a 35yo Tamdhu cask #3230 [WLP91].
Scores 91 points
EDIT: Since time of writing, this has been released: WB89.85
Aberlour 1990/2022 31yo Cadenhead Un-Ob. cask sample #18/P23-1 49.1%
From a bourbon hoggie, this was transferred into an ex-madeira cask in 2018.
- N: Similar intense fruitiness to the previous GlenMo but without the lactic and more on a [slightly sulpherous] herbaceousness, and with underlying resinous ripe raisins and sugars. Madeira!? No shit! Right up my street, this one,.. less so for others.
- T: Initially, a narrow/acute and nervous delivery to the front & mid-sides of the palate. Give it some time, however [shame this tasting was so rushed], and we have a slow oozing release of [grape-] tannic fruit juice, savoury-confectionary fruits, sweets, and biscuits.
- F: The madeira influence is subtle but seemingly invaluable [working well/plastering over the cracks], concluding with a tannin-dry hessian sweet < sour citrusy slightly salty spearmint heat/spice.
- C: Decent [distillery irrelevant] rejuvenated oldie this, by the end.
Scores 87 points
Glenlossie 1992/2022 29yo Cadenhead Un-Ob. cask sample #311-90? 52.1%
Bourbon hoggie all the way.
- N: Greasy sweet, subtle/entrenched hessian, hard cheese lactose,… blah blah. In short, a cracking nose with nothing out of sorts.
- T: With subtle complexity and an assured relaxed chew, this dignified old timer gives out a wonderful murky bundle of malty greasy sweetness. More sips reveal this one’s star qualities.
- F: Stretches out, in no rush to finish [unlike the tasting].
- C: A faultless slow-cooked Lossie. Still maturing just fine, this won’t be bottled anytime soon.
Scores 90 points
Last up, a single malt bottled especially for the festival and for this tasting. For us lucky ones, we get to try before we buy, though those who have seen the bottle also want to buy it based simply on the colour [and distillery name].
[Lagavulin] An islay Distillery 2007/2022 14yo Cadenhead’s Oloroso Hogshead [210 bts] 52.9% WB88.69
From a bourbon base [once again], this was re-racked into oloroso in 2019.
- N: Smoky sweet phenolic, rose petals,… It’s an easy one to dive into.
- T: Fruit juice into heavy ashy char, this one requires water.
- F: Slightly eggy/sulphury and grainy at the tail.
- C: Coming to an auction house near you, no doubt.
Scores 87 points