...where distraction is the main attraction.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Caperdonich 20 year old 1992 First Editions

Don't base your entire opinion of a distillery from a single whisky. A person has to try a number of single malts from a distillery before declaring privately or publicly his or her opinion about that distillery. One shitty malt or a single dynamite whisky tells no broader story than that of the one whisky itself. I'm telling you this, because I made this mistake.

Four years ago, I bought my first Caperdonich and it was awesome. So I decided that Caperdonich was awesome. Then I heard tales from more experienced drinkers that 1970s Caperdonich was even dreamier. So I started window shopping every Caperdonich on the planet. Since then I've tried five more Caperdonichs, bringing my grand total to six. 3 were good or better, 3 were either bland or so-so. That's not a terrible ratio, but I'm much less motivated to buy a Caperdonich blindly.

It's time to try my seventh (today) and eighth (on Wednesday) from the distillery once known as Glen Grant 2. And we'll see what happens to that ratio.

Today's pour was from an 2015 OC Scotch Club event I'd led. It's a single cask by First Editions, a Scottish indie bottler who entered the US market a couple years ago.

Distillery: Caperdonich
Bottler: Edition Spirits
Series: First Editions
Region: Speyside (Rothes)
Age: 20 years (1992-2013)
Maturation: bourbon cask
Alcohol by Volume: 55.8%
Chillfiltered? No
Caramel Colorant? No

Its amber color is nice and light considering the age. The nose begins with salty beach and overripe or bruised stone fruits. It's quite hot, though. I'm getting a little bit of barley and red Pixy Stix note. With time it develops a bit note of blooming roses. The palate is very very hot, feeling more like 65.8%abv (or 75.8%abv) than 55.8%abv. There's acidic citrus and plenty of malt. Strawberry bubblegum, cinnamon sticks and a moderate earthy note. That's it. It finishes tangy and hot, with a mild strawberry bubblegum note.

Maybe some dilution will help?

WITH WATER (~46%abv)
The nose is still beachy and has picked up the bubblegum thing. And there's an odd combination of gummi bears and fennel seed. The palate still has a sizable alcohol burn. There's a little bit of peach, malt and black peppercorns. Nothing else. The finish is hot, bitter and rooty.

Maybe some more dilution will help?

WITH WATER (~40%abv)
The nose has gotten more candied. Orange Pixy Stix and salted caramels. There's a little more character to the palate. More peach, maybe some lemons, a little bit of malt. But it also gets very mouth-drying. Its finish is malty and bitter. Again, very drying, like some sort of weird tannins have slipped in.

In theory, some of this whisky's characteristics should have appealed to me. It has an earthy rooty side. It's low on oak, when neat. A little bit of fruit shows up here and there. Yet, I never once enjoyed the palate or finish. The violence of the heat is strange, as is the tannic crash when the whisky is diluted. Underneath that aggression, there's nearly nothing to speak of. The nose isn't bad, but its satisfactory qualities draw attention to the vacant palate. I'm glad I didn't commit to a whole bottle for myself.

Availability - USA only, but might be sold out
Pricing - $130?
Rating - 76