Cadenhead’s: Recent Highlights Tasting 2021

In 2021, Cadenhead’s produced 700 tasting packs in advance of the 2021 Malts Festival, an online affair due to the C-ituation.

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With plenty left over, Cadenhead’s very generously gave out a pair of tasting packs to every attendee of the Cadenhead’s Club Tasting as part of the Campbeltown Malts Festival of 2022 [WLP].

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Don’t mind if I do. Let’s begin.

Glenallachie-Glenlivet 2007/2020 12yo Cadenhead’s Sherry Butt [606 bts] 61.7% WB83.72[79]

As stated: ‘One of nine special single casks bottled exclusively for Cadenhead’s dedicated shops as part of their annual release collection‘.

  • N: A sweet malty one, a little creamy and biscuity, the sherry butt is influential if not overly dominant. Peppery too, green chilli!
  • T: Same again. Add water for more of a rich textural experience, though there are no theatrics here as the experience is delivered in shot form.
  • F: Shame too about the heat which if not disastrous is certainly distracting.
  • C: A slow start. There’s plenty more whisky around so let’s move on.

Scores 82 points

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[Isle of] Jura 2009/2021 11yo Cadenhead’s Authentic Collection [600 bts] 55.2% WB82.49[82]

  • N: In short, an unwavering [sulphurous] pongy husky farmy creamy nutty confectionary nose.
  • T: More butt-dominated than the Glenallachie, this is a tricky customer neat or with water. Metallic to taste, we’ve another flash-in-the-pan experience though one that comes with an idiosyncratic floury cereal-mash dryness that Jura fans will surely identify with.
  • F: Pricky coppery raisiny [sherried] and a touch salty.
  • C: A seemingly divisive dram, this is no bad whisky, and I know it has found a fanbase. Not worth getting too excited about either way from my perspective.

Scores 83 points

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Fettercairn 1988/2020 31yo Cadenhead Authentic Collection [252 bts] 54.7% WB89.16[59]

As stated ‘One of the oldest Fettercairn’s bottled within Cadenhead’s Authentic Collection range‘.

  • N: Perfume-y potpourri, dried/drying zesty fruit skins, papaya, a little pineapple, light honey, syrup water,… then that fusty~dry slightly bready-nutty hogshead dunnage delight. With a shopping list galore, this is archetypal aged Fettercairn.
  • T: This is very similar to another 1988 vintage [27yo] Fettercairn I’ve just polished off [WLP]. Starting with set honey and drying grapefruit & papaya, a curmudgeonly old freshness ensues. Got to love the quirky coppery prickly bumpy ride.
  • F: If the age was ever in doubt, the finish reveals the passing of the years in cask that displays an interplay of all & sundry.
  • C: Still available in store at time of writing, this is Fettercairn through-and-through,… warts n all.

Scores 88 points

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Highland Park 1992/2020 28yo Cadenhead’s [396 bts] 58.7% WB89.68[80] WF[A]90

Highland Park around 30 years is typically a cracking affair. Incredible to think that just a few years ago, you could pick up such aged Orkney delights from independent bottlers for less than £100.

  • N: A pretty dense malt, it hasn’t changed a jot after an hour in the glass. With a rather homemade quality, we’ve a little [farmy] peat, tinned fruits, a stewed tea blend, plenty of saltiness, toasted Shreddies,… floral biscuits? Certainly a decent start though I’m not expecting as many wireworks in the glass as there are outside on a dry night in England on November 4th.
  • T: You can taste, within, 57 degrees North, the 10yo, the 18yo,… That’s Highland Park for you, an all-rounder that can perform well at any age when presented right. With a bit of this and a bit of that, it’s fairly woody by the turn.
  • F: A savoury to sour finish, a little water helps it along but we are far from the complexities of the nose. 
  • C: Thousands of younger malts will trump this, though there’s plenty to ponder over. Worth having in the cabinet [if you can afford it] to compare against your 1970s vintages.

Scores 86 points

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Paul John 2011/2019 07yo Cadenhead’s World Whiskies – Individual Cask Bourbon Hogshead [348 bts] 55.4% WB85.93[62] WF82

  • N: Refreshingly different crisp vibrant intense bitter-sweet fruity nose where Ribena meets orange juice, mango juice, a drop of cranberry [Tunes], salty flint, Elodea Densa [pond weed], and new leather. A very likeable nose, but given the flavour profile, that will be subjective.
  • T: Bitter-sweet fruitiness pretty much covers it for the arrival. With developing worldly flavours from Peru to India to Bangkok, I’m initially reminded of TBWC’s [fabulous] Batch #2 Willowbank [WLP88] before it quickly disperses into the smoky malt that it is. Being intensely salty also, add water for a more even-keeled delivery.
  • F: Dirty engine oil over a wafer, an intense build-up finishes quite quickly like the spring release of a jack-in-the-box. Again, adding water will send this in many other directions, confectionary, sweet medicinal,…
  • C: Refreshingly different crazy juice! This should, and did, please many. It’s a definitely buy for me but I understand the disparity.

Scores 88 points

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{Tobermory] Ledaig 2008/2021 12yo Cadenhead’s Authentic Collection Cask Strength Bourbon Hogshead [264 bts] 55.8% WB86.81[61] WF90

As stated ‘This is a special cask chosen to commemorate the retirement of Alan Murray, long-standing owner of Cadenhead’s Whisky Shop Edinburgh‘.

  • N: Similar abv to the Paul John but with the intensity ramped up even further. We are talking of lemon-soaked leather, dry salt-encrusted whelks, coal, a touch of vinegar [salt & vinegar crisp e-number flavourings], something of root vegetals – onions, chives,… again moving towards those e-number flavourings.
  • T: Surprisingly soft vegetal peat arrival, a touch medicinal, we’ve an Ardbeg/Lagavulin/Caol Ila-like combo which tends to mean it’s not from Islay. With a quirky chew and something of the Octomore 06.2 [WLP] – which is eau-de-vie cask-finished heavily peated spirit – the culmination of flavours don’t quite gell in a culinary sense.
  • F: Straight youthful Caol Ila-like into the finish, it doesn’t really go anywhere. Sour to finish, I’m longing for the Paul John.
  • C: I know everyone’s going crazy for contemporary Ledaig right now, but I often find it vacuous. This one is very decent, however, though the Paul John overshadowed it today.

Scores 86 points

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Many thanks Cadenhead’s

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