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Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Glen Spey 20 year old Cadenhead Small Batch

I know nothing about this Glen Spey-Glenlivet bottling, as there isn't much about it online. It's one of those rectangular small batch Cadenhead bottlings that was released in the US a few years ago. This series tends to offer pretty reliable single malts, while Glen Spey's quality varies broadly.

(And no, I have no commentary regarding the recent announcement regarding Cadenhead shop closures, since I don't know the full story, thought it does seem like single malt gets more difficult to purchase with each passing year.)

Onto the review!

Distillery: Glen Spey
Owner: Diageo
Region: Speyside (Rothes)
Independent Bottler: Cadenhead
Range: Small Batch
Age: 20 years (???? - ????)
Maturation: ???
Outturn: ??? bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 59.9%
(from a bottle split)


A lot of stuff going on in the nose, but without any development. Almond butter, flowers, chlorine and Cynar sit up front; orange oil, vanilla bean and ash drift beneath. The simple palate starts with sweet citrus and ginger candy. Hay and miso arrive later, along with (maybe?) some ash. The citrus gets tarter in the finish, and the miso remains, but raw heat is the loudest note.

DILUTED to ~46%abv, or 1¾ tsp of water per 30mL whisky

The nose brightens up, with the flowers turning into white peaches, and the citrus merging with toasted oak. Hints of caramel and grassiness fill the edges. The palate goes the other direction, turning bitter, peppery, salty, and tangy but without the fruit. It finishes tart, salty and acidic.


This almost reads like one dead refill cask + one active first fill barrel, as these "small batches" tend to contain 1-3 casks. Both sorta raw and sorta oaky. The nose works better when diluted, but the palate tastes better when neat. I'd probably prefer it neat, though the ash notes are strange. Not sure if I'm motivated to find out anything else about this whisky.

Availability - perhaps still around in America?
Pricing - ?
Rating - 79

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