Glencadam 15


I’m still on the ex-bourbon trail. The last stop was at Clynelish in the Highlands. I’m still in the Highlands today but all the way over in the east—past the Speyside—at Glencadam. The distillery is owned by Angus Dundee—who also own Tomintoul in the Speyside—and is on no one’s list of the greatest Scottish distilleries. What this means is that their whisky is still quite reasonably priced: even after recent increases, their 10 yo (which I quite like, though I have not yet reviewed it) is available for £35 in the UK and this 15 yo is currently going for just above £50 (inclusive of vat). This is particularly gratifying given that in the late 2000s the lineup got an upgrade to 46% abv and a lack of chill-filtering. They’ve since added an 18 yo (which I have not tried); previously the next up from the 15 yo was the 21 yo (also priced reasonably—in today’s world—at just above £90). They’ve also added some jazzed up sherry and port cask releases (which I also haven’t tried). Prices in the US are a little higher but at this point we should just be glad that they are putting out age-stated whisky. Which is not to say that they’re not putting out any NAS whisky: they also have something called the Origin 1825, which costs about the same as the 10 yo in the US (it’s cheaper in the UK). Anyway, let’s see what this 15 yo is like.

I should say that I do not know for sure that this is all ex-bourbon cask whisky. It’s possible there are some sherry casks in the vatting, but the character seems bourbon cask-driven to me.

Glencadam 15 (46%; from my own bottle)

Nose: Starts out with yeasty, appley notes, joined soon by bitter lemon peel. Gets a bit sweeter as it sits (honey) and the yeasty note turns more grassy. With more time there’s a slightly bitter note, somewhere between leafy and (sour) oaky. With a lot more time there’s some sweet berry action happening. A drop of water pulls out some vanilla and more of the malt and lemon; it also knocks the oak back.

Palate: Starts out a little blank and then there’s a bit of tart apple, malt and the oak. The texture is a bit too thin. The pepper from the finish jumps out faster on the second sip. With more time the sour notes are joined by some red berry sweetness and there’s better balance with the oak holding it all together. More citrus and less oak here too with water.

Finish: Medium-long. Goes on for a while with the oak (not astringent or tannic), picking up some pepper and cinnamon as it goes. With more time there’s some milky coffee and roasted malt at the very end. Longer with water and brighter here too.

Comments: This starts out a little blah but picks up steam with a lot of air and a little water. Malty, oaky whisky without a lot of bells and whistles but quite solid. No idea what current batches are like.

Rating: 83 points.

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