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Wednesday, January 24, 2024

"Rich Fruity Sherry" 36 year old 1980 Cadenhead Creations

I had thought I'd scheduled three vatted (or blended) malts this week, but but lo and behold today's 36yo Cadenhead Creation is a blended whisky, which means the grain stuff is present. Though I don't know the ratio of malt to grain, the ingredients are known and I've listed them in the data below. (Hint: It's a Highland Distillers special!)

Ye olde Campbeltown bottler first produced a "Rich Fruity Sherry" blended whisky back in 2013, though that one was all of 20 years old. In 2016, this sequel materialized, darker, older, and more expensive. I matched it up against Monday's 40yo blended malt. Which one came out on top???

Bottler: Cadenhead
Range: Cadenhead Creations
Type: Blended Whisky
Distilleries: Highland Park, Macallan, Tamdhu, and Invergordon
Age: minimum 36 years (1980 - 2016)
Maturation: 2 sherry butts
Outturn: ???
Alcohol by Volume: 44.5%
(from a bottle split)


The fresh, perky nose starts off with loads of bright citrus peels, mint leaf, and basil leaf. Some dates here, a hint of peach skin there. The cask influence expands slowly with coffee, maple syrup, and baking spices. It gets heavier and stickier with time until it's a mix of nocino and port.

Up front, the palate reads woodier and dustier than the nose. Combinations of stone fruits and honeys try to battle back the oak with mixed success as caramel and tingly oak spice rise from beneath. A few lemons appear in the final sip.

The same oak spice, and a puff of wood smoke, lead the finish. It doesn't get too bitter, and some tart citrus liven it up. Sweetness appears at the very end.


Unlike the exhausted casks of Cadenhead's 43yo blend, this whisky's oak stays plenty strong......to the point it makes me wonder how late into the game the two sherry butts were utilized for the four ingredients. Any lovely signs of those old Highland Distillers goodies evaded me. Invergordon may have been the loudest ingredient (aside from the oak), possibly because the malts were underproof. I didn't use any question marks in this paragraph, but this Cadenhead Creation left me with only questions. Stirk's 40yo vatted malt was the clear winner between the two oldies.

Availability - Sold out
Pricing - also in the $300 range?
Rating - 84