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Monday, February 1, 2021

Caperdonich 38 year old 1972 Duncan Taylor Rarest of the Rare, cask 7460

(Glen Grant cluster homepage)

A twist! I begin the week with some Glen Grant Number Two, a.k.a. Caperdonich, a.k.a. dumped and sold for parts. This is the revered 1972 vintage people put on their license plates or name their sons after. Though I think the whole whisky vintage thing is unconvincing, I have no reason to doubt that Caperdonich single malts from this era are splendid. That's why I paid some money to get in on this bottle split. And this is very likely the last Caperdonich review you'll see on Diving for Pearls.

As a quick reminder, this distillery was built across from Glen Grant distillery, by the Grant family, in order to keep up with demand. Though it only ran for four years at the start (1898-1902), it reopened and ran for 37 years a few generations later (1965-2002). Its production was designed so that its spirit would mirror that of Glen Grant's though it never really worked out that way. It strayed most from 1967 to 1985 when different shaped stills were utilized. According to Whiskypedia, the single malt wasn't even assigned its own name until 1977, so when today's whisky was distilled it was just Glen Grant No. 2.

Back to the hallowed vintage. Duncan Taylor somehow scooped up the lion's share of 1972 Cappies, at least 45 casks, and now most of those bottles are approaching or have approached the four-digit mark on the secondary market. If that makes you sad, just consider all the NAS Macallans selling for multiple Gs, and dang if certain things suddenly seem like a deal.

Distillery: Glen Grant No. 2 (later known as Caperdonich)
Region: Speyside (Rothes)
Ownership at time of distillation: The Glenlivet and Glen Grant Distilleries
Bottler: Duncan Taylor
Series: Rarest of the Rare

Age: 38 years (November 1972 - February 2011)
Maturation: probably a former bourbon cask
Cask #: 7460
Outturn: 160 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 53.6%
(from a bottle split)

Mmmmmmmango on the nose, like a mango custard, and key lime pie and whiff of pipe tobacco. Then ginger candy, cardamom, blood oranges and candied yuzu peel. Notes of toasted oak and dunnage arise after 30+ minutes. Once diluted to 46%abv, the whisky reveals oak spice, baking spice, ginger spice, baby spice, etc. Mangos and nectarines in the background.

Intense exotic spices (← check out that white guy note), kabosu and yuzu lead the palate. Funky honey carrying dashes of salt and nutmeg slides through the midground. Hints of cassia, dried oregano and dried sage appear in the background. Sandalwood and incense notes build with time. Reducing the whisky to 46%abv brings out a louder fruity sweetness, full of mangoes, limes and honey. Bits of earth and pepper oil hide in the shadow of big old oak.

The long, spicy, glowy finish spins bitter citrus peels, cassia, dried sage and pickled ginger, as well as hints of smoke and broken stones. The finish loses its smoke, getting sweeter and tangier once the whisky is reduced to 46%abv.

Excellent whisky as expected, though I feel it's right in line with last week's 36yo 1967 Glen Grant as far as grand quality goes. The nose wins the day, showcasing bundles of fruits alongside the spices. While the old cask imparts plenty great palate characteristics, it doesn't leave much room for anything else until the finish. Again, I'm just picking nits about a fabulous drink. Rest well, Caperdonich.

Availability - Secondary market
Pricing - ??? to ????
Rating - 90

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