...where distraction is the main attraction.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Single Malt Report: Glencadam 21 year old

Yes, I'm back to the single malt reports.  And I'm going to stay with them for a looooooong time.

Glencadam gets no love.  And that's fine for those of us who know that they're often underrated and priced well (internationally, at least).  Like Ben Nevis, Glencadam is a Highland malt.  But unlike Ben Nevis, it does not have a quirky reputation, plus it sits on the exact opposite side of Scotland in the East.  I'm not sure if previous ownership released groady Glencadam bottles at some point (Jim Murray has referenced some dark Allied years), but even its Angus Dundee stablemate Tomintoul is more familiar to most geeks.  Again, that's cool.  A big run on Glencadam would only cause its range's prices to skyrocket and then I'd complain about that.

Three and a half years ago, I fell down the Signatory rabbit hole when I bought a '94 Bowmore and a '89 Glencadam at Royal Mile Whiskies in London.  Both were very good to excellent, and I've had an unwise crush on the Signatory brand ever since.  I was able to stretch the Glencadam out over eleven months and then made it my one-hundredth single malt report.  Yes, three-and-a-half years ago we could buy a very good single cask of 20 year old Highland single malt for £45.  F**k.

Where was I?  Glencadam.  I've had my eye on their official 21 year old for a while.  So I was happy to buy this sample from Master of Malt...

Distillery: Glencadam
Owner: Angus Dundee Plc
Age: minimum 21 years
Maturation: "Bourbon and Sherry casks" according to whiskybase
Type: Single Malt
Region: Eastern Highlands
Alcohol by Volume: 46%
Chill filtration? No
Caramel coloring? Probably not

Its color is amber, light for its age.  The nose begins with pine sap and peach nectar.  With time the pine recedes and peach ascends.  Spearmint leaves and coffee beans arrive next, followed by newly clean laundry, cherry lollipop residue, and dried leaves.  After a while, a big note of flower kiss candy appears.  The palate is creamy in texture and flavor.  There's some caramel and nougat, lots of oranges and limes, and roasted almonds.  Then toffee pudding with coffee grounds.  With air, a big floral note opens up, joined by fresh apricots.  It finishes with some sort of creamy caramelly almond pudding.  Lots of citrus and flower blossoms hang around for awhile.  Then smaller notes of menthol, coffee, and dark chocolate.  After some time in the glass, the whisky's finish actually gets longer and more tingly.

Damn.  This is good, even better than I had expected.  There isn't a hell of a lot of oak involved, nor does it seem too young or hot from crap casks.  It's also not a profoundly complex navel-gazing whisky.  It's just really solid on all levels.  It drinks exceptionally well but isn't sugary sweet.  The floral notes I referenced may make some people nervous, but perfumy or soapy it ain't.  Nor is it full of violets and lavender.  But if you're 100% anthophobic, then you won't like this as much as I.  But to me the florals are just the first flute in an orchestra.  Coffee and chocolate, the big horns and percussion.  Citrus, the smaller brass.  Apricots and peaches, the woodwinds.  Okay, the metaphor is now crumbling.  I liked this whisky a lot.

I wish this was sold in the US of A.  Angus Dundee employee, if you're reading this, please bring Glencadam 21 to The States.  And keep the price comparable to the European one.  That'd be sweet, thanks.

For other takes/notes:
--Serge liked it a lot, though found different angles to it.
--Though Master of Malt has a good price on it, their notes seem to be for a different whisky. Royal Mile's notes make more sense to me.
--A lot of variety in the public's positive notes on whiskybase.

Availability - European specialty retailers
Pricing - Around $90-$105 (w/o VAT, before shipping)
Rating - 90