Glencadam Highland Whisky

Our latest whisky tasting took place on Thursday 21st Feb, where Global Brand Ambassador (!) for Angus Dundee Distillers, Iain Forteath, came along to take us on a journey of Glencadam. (Angus Dundee Distillers also own Tomintoul and the Old Ballantruan brand.)

For those of you who’ve not yet joined us for a tasting, the evening consists of between 50-60 people who get a selection of seven whiskies each. The distillery representative, i.e.; Iain, then talks us through the production process, the distillery history and his tips and advice on how to test the whisky. Finished off with a supper, it’s always a lively event with lots of passionate whisky enthusiasts, experts and novices too.

Iain held court very well on the evening, his knowledge and passion shining through. It’s clear that this isn’t ‘just a job’ for him – he clearly loves the product, and also doesn’t shy away from mentioning other brands he admires.

Glencadam is one of the quietest distilleries – in the fact that they don’t shout about themselves very much. They aren’t open to visitors and they don’t produce anything like the quantity that the larger distilleries produce. Due to that, they are not a brand you’ll readily see on supermarket shelves with 20% off and so on. 

However, search them out (we proudly stock them of course) as they really are a hidden gem.

Here’s what we tasted;

Glencadam 10 yo – 46% abv

A pale straw colour and very fresh nose; green apples, vanilla and citrus. Made using 50% first fill bourbon (hence the vanilla) this is a great starting whisky, or as Iain put it – a Sauvignon Blanc. Recommended as an aperitif and also a good pairing to smoked salmon and oily seafood but to the ‘clean’ and ‘fresh’ nature of it.
The finish is quite dry with more citrus.

Glencadam 13 yo  – 46% abv

AKA, The Re-Awakening, the additional years give this a ‘thicker’ profile. The colour is a deeper gold hue, and it certainly carries more spice on the palate.

The mouthfeel is oily and creamier than the 10 yo with someone likening the taste to a Caramac bar. (!)

What ‘ The Re-Awakening”? Because in 2000 the distillery fell silent and this represents re-awakening three years later.

Glencadam 17 yo Portwood – 46% abv

This is where it got really interesting for me, impressive as the first two were. 12yrs in bourbon then 5yrs in Ruby port. The Ruby is chosen over Tawny, as it handles longer maturations better, and imparts red fruit and tannins.

This is a lovely whisky – sweet yet dry on the palette and a lovely rich, cinnamon nose which precedes the taste. It was just wonderful to taste.

Glencadam 18yo – 46% abv

Again, this has a fairly pale colour profile (they don’t use colouring). Another reason for this is the use of bourbon casks which imparts less colour than it’s sherry counterpart.

After tasting the Portwood finish, the nose on the 18 offers less – but it’s been created as a more delicate whisky. There’s the fruity profile again, but not as prevalent as others with their rich raisins and fruit-cake flavours. There’s also the underlying spice and bitterness too.

Glencadam 19 yo Oloroso Cask Finish – 46% abv

13yrs in bourbon and 6 in Oloroso casks, Iain tells us of the difference with European Oak – offering more spice for a starter.

This dram doesn’t disappoint – with cedar, sultanas and christmas cake on the nose and a wonderfully rich and creamy palate. This finish goes on and on and, well, I really really liked this. A lot.

Glencadam 21 yo – 46% abv

Described as an ‘old school whisky’, this is all bourbon and from a batch of just 6,000. Just hone i thought the one before was good. Wow.

This has more of a woody profile, with oak on the nose and a full, powerful mouthfeel. All these whiskies are the same above, so it’s interesting to note the differences and different impressions of alcohol level they give.

It’s a lovely, sweet whisky – but certainly not sickly-sweet. My scribbled notes gave it extra ticks for being simply wonderful.

Glencadam 25 yo – 46% abv

Just to be clear – this is 1/4 of a century old. Wow. 25 long years in a deep slumber in Scotland.

It comes in a fancy box and all that, probably with a price point to represent it’s age too. It it worth it? Well that’s only what the individual can decide. It’s a wonderfully rounded and balanced which, with a full palate and flavour. It rightly came at the end of the tasting, however, 6 whiskies in – could my palate do justice to the intricacies and nuances of such an aged whisky? Probably not.

I head back to the 21 year old, but am pleased I was able to try this piece of Glencadam history.

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