Cadenhead’s 175th Special Releases

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It’s already made quite a lot of news, but for those who don’t know W.M. Cadenhead, the oldest independent whisky bottler, recently celebrated their 175th anniversary For the occasion they released 6 truly remarkable bottles to be tasted at a set of international tasting events. Unfortunately Israel was not on the list for these events, but fortunately a local whisky anorak and fellow Malt Mongers Israel member, Assaf Errel, managed to get hold of the set of bottles and put on one of the most remarkable tasting I’ve ever been lucky enough to attend.

On the list were:

  • Littlemill 26 – 1991 Vintage 52.6% ABV
  • Rosebank 25 – 1991 Vintage 50.3% ABV
  • Banff 40 – 1976 Vintage 51.2% ABV
  • Convalmore 40 – 1977 Vintage 56.8% ABV
  • Caperdonich 39 – 1977 Vintage 50.4% ABV – Matured in a sherry butt.
  • Heaven Hill 20 – 1996 Vintage 52.4% ABV – Partially matured in Scotland.

I didn’t take notes for everything as I really just wanted to enjoy myself, I ended up taking notes for the Littlemill and Banff, that was going to be it but the Caperdonich was very nice so I took some notes too. Additionally I reviewed the Heaven Hill before here.

I won’t be applying my usual rating system as these whiskies are not anything I’ll likely ever be buying for myself or ever be able to try again.


Littlemill

This is was one of several Lowland distilleries once operating in the Glasgow area. The distillery is arguably one of Scotland’s oldest, but because it was not licensed, substantiating these claims are difficult. The distillery changed hands many times before shutting down in the 80’s reopened briefly in the 90’s and then shut down for good, most of the equipment has since been destroyed by a fire.

Aged 26 years. 52.6% ABV. No colourant added, non-chill filtered and bottled at cask strength from a single cask.

Nose: Chalk. Coconut. Vanilla. Citrus flowers. Orange peel. Fine dust.

Palate: Rich wood. Vanilla. Stroopwaffel. Slightly floral. Bitter citrus. Barley sugar. Heavy cream.

Finish: Long. Floral. Citrus liqueur. Tingling woodspice. Cacao.

Very creamy and malty sweet. I know some people didn’t like this one and prefered the Rosebank but for me this was my favourite of the 2 Lowland whiskies. Extremely pleasant and fun to drink.


Banff

A Speyside distillery which was founded in 1824 and produced triple distilled spirit for its first 100 years before switching to the more common double distillation. The distillery was plagued by fires throughout its history and was even bombed in WW2. The distillery was closed in the early 80’s and partially demolished, the rest of it being destroyed by, you guessed it, a fire, in 1991.

Aged 40 years. 51.2% ABV. No colourant added, non-chill filtered and bottled at cask strength from a single cask.

Nose: Rich wood. Celery salt. Caramel rounds. Dusty bookshelves. Herbal honey. Soy sauce.

Palate: Bitter orange. Very big fruit note. Oak. Chalky. Woodspice. Green pepper. Salty toffee.

Finish: Long. Spicy, mainly peppers. Old pepper. Menthol.

This was a favourite of many for the evening, probably mine as well. It really developed a lot of those delicate and special notes which make whiskies of such an age worth seeking out.


Caperdonich

A Speyside distillery founded in the late 19th century as a sister distillery to Glen Grant, only to be closed with the Pattison whisky crash a few years later. It reopened in the 1960’s and changed hands several times before being closed again in 2002 and demolished in 2010.

Aged 39 years. 50.4% ABV. Matured in a sherry butt. No colourant added, non-chill filtered and bottled at cask strength from a single cask.

Nose: Dry sherry. Dark chocolate. Red apples. Raspberry powder. Blood orange. Spicy raisins. Paprika.

Palate: Dry. Woodspice. Cherry. Coffee liqueur. Heavy cream. Bitter plums.

Finish: Long. Dry sherry. Chocolate. Coffee. Red fruits. Woodspice.

I could tell this one was going to be a sherry bomb from the colour. The balance here was really something and the sherry character was really special thanks to the aging, it brought out a lot of the notes I like in whiskies like this.


This was a fantastic evening, I was really lucky to taste such special and unique whiskies in the company of some awesome people.

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