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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Caperdonich 12 year old 1998 Heavily Peated, Single Malts of Scotland

On Monday I reviewed an ethyly (not a thing), bland Caperdonich. I tried that Cap right before today's Cap. The decision was made to forgo a side-by-side Taste Off after taking a whiff of this indeed heavily peated Caperdonich.

There was a fun discussion over at My Annoying Opinions about whether Caperdonich utilized peat to dry their malted barley. (I'm shocked to discover that conversation happened only 3.5 years ago. Feels more like 35 years.) Charlie MacLean's Whiskypedia book mentions that the distillery "once made" a peaty variety.

This Caperdonich is not an instance of an unpeated whisky maturing in a former Islay cask. Its big-assed peating is right in the spirit. Did they do some experimental batches that day in 1998? Or were they producing some peated malt for blenders? Those questions are half rhetorical and half not.

Distillery: Caperdonich
Bottler: Specialty Drinks Ltd
Series: Single Malts of Scotland
Region: Speyside (Rothes)
Age: 12 years (May 4, 1998 to May 27, 2010)
Maturation: bourbon barrel
Cask: 8712
Bottles: 242
Alcohol by Volume: 57%
Chillfiltered? No
Caramel Colorant? No
(Sample obtained via sample swap with MAO. Thanks, MAO!)

It's another amber colored Caperdonich. Wooo, lots of horse stall on the nose, as in horses and hay. There's also plenty of seaweed and dried apricots. Vanilla cookies and rock candy. The peppery sweet palate is more straightforward with some fruity cinnamon, soil, peat and weed. A good bitterness rumbles up in the finish. Heath bar, jalapeño oil and farmy peat.

WITH WATER (~46%abv)
A graceful note of snuffed candles leads the nose. Then anise, molasses chews, rotting fruit, charred bee and an herbal and seaweed Islay-like peat. Earthy grungy peat dominates the palate. Some anise and tart citrus. Maybe a hint of sulphur. The finish is bitter, earthy and herbal, with a hint of lime.

The peat on this thing is massive and filthy. ¡Me gusta! I hope there are more casks of this experimental(?) Caperdonich out there somewhere.  If it were still available, I'd recommend this whisky far ahead of Monday's Cap. Though this is younger than the 20yo and has a higher ABV, it's less hot, more drinkable and a little more complex. It will definitely appeal to fans of Islay's three Kildalton distilleries. But if you don't like peat, stay far away.

To conclude, I still don't know where I stand on Caperdonich. In my experience, its success rate remains 50%.

Availability - Sold out
Pricing - ???
Rating - 87