...where distraction is the main attraction.

Monday, August 21, 2023

Birthday Booze: William Cadenhead 43 year old Blended Whisky

This may be the first time my birthday has approached much too quickly for my liking. Can't I have a few more months??? 

As happens during Earth's solar years, things occurred since the last birthday. My daughters are now both in public school, not too far from my apartment. I jumped onto The Dating Train, then nine months later, I emphatically threw myself from it. It was not a soft landing. In other news, an increasingly gray beard grew on my face for several months before being removed. Travel continued: I enjoyed another two beautiful weeks in Japan in the spring, then Mathilda and I took our first long distance father-and-daughter trip in the summer. My last grandparent, my maternal grandfather, passed away at the age of 95. Ninety-five years. Three decades of cigarette smoking, nearly eight decades of beer drinking, and never a vegetable to be found on his plate. I'm doing it wrong. Happy 45th to me!

The older I get, the more challenging it is to select "Birthday Booze" that's relevant to my age. This appears to be a forever thing. Thankfully, I found a 1970s trio for this week.

In honor of the passing of Mr. Hedley Wright, the chairman of J&A Mitchell (owners of Springbank, Glengyle, and Cadenhead) for sixty years, I'm finishing up my big bottle split of Cadenhead's own 43-year-old blended whisky today. (No, I'm not 43, but I don't have a 44yo spirit other than my own!) The rumored ingredients are: 55% Invergordon and a 45% mix of Glenfarclas and Glenlivet...

pic source
Distilleries: Invergordon, Glenfarclas, and Glenlivet (allegedly)
Bottler: Cadenhead
Type: Blended Scotch
Age: 43 years (197? - 201?)
Maturation: ?????
Outturn: 624 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 44.2%
(from a bottle split)


Nuts and sugars unite in the nose: walnuts, almonds, and candied pecans meet toffee and caramel sauce. Softer notes of orange oil, mushrooms, and band-aids appear after 30 minutes, then dried apricots and nutty whole grain bread at the 50-minute mark. 

Dusty things, like old books, mild wood smoke, and cigar ash start the comfy palate, followed by sweet oranges and raw almonds. Layers of oak spices and bitterness build in the background.

The finish lingers awhile thanks to all the old oak. It's also dusty and mildly smoky like the palate, with a hint of tangy limes. Despite a big caramel note in the finale, it's not too sweet.


It wouldn't shock any of us if at least one of the two malt elements had entered "spirit drink" territory below 40%abv, judging just by the blend's ABV. Then the whisky itself proves it. Though the casks feel exhausted, they shan't be shamed, since they've trod a 43-year marathon, at minimum. That old creaky wood produced a very good nose and an easy palate with some charming earthy hints in both. It's older and better than JW Blue Label, so good on Cadenhead for this blend's original reasonable price.

Availability - Sold out
Pricing - around €200 in 2019
Rating - 85