Caperdonichs of the late 1960s and early 1970s are celebrated for their fruitiness. The year 1972 is particularly fetishized by many whisky geeks. As I never get tired of pointing out, much of this has to do with the fact that there has always been far more Caperdonich 1972 available than from surrounding years. Why more should have survived from this year is hard to say but it’s the case. Just to update the numbers: Whiskybase currently has 79 listings for 1972 but only 24 for 1970, 1971, 1973, 1974 and 1975 combined (this includes 0 for 1973 and 1975). Given the scanty evidence about the whisky distilled and laid down in the years immediately before and after, there’s not much grounds for believing that there was something special about 1972; only that a lot of it somehow escaped being blended away and got matured to ripe old ages in the glut years that followed.
Here is a sample from a bottle of one of the few 1974 casks that survived. I received it in a sample swap some six years ago and forgot all about it. Hopefully, it hasn’t deteriorated in the sample bottle. Let’s see.
Caperdonich 27, 1974 (50%; Douglas Laing, Old Malt Cask; refill hogshead DL 475; from a sample received in a swap)
Nose: Wood glue, toasted oak, hints of overripe passionfruit (that mix of sharply acidic and sickly sweet). With time it gets sweeter (honey rather than passionfruit) and there’s a hint of peat behind the other notes and then some roasted malt. A drop of water brings out more of the fruit (lemon, pineapple) and marries it with pastry crust
Palate: The fruit leads with waxed lemon peel, pineapple and tart mango—but the oak is right behind. Very nice texture. The fruit expands with every sip—some apricot jam in there too now. More peppery bite and more fruit here too with water.
Finish: Medium-long. The fruit lingers but it’s the toasted oak that has the last word. Water extends the finish as the citrus and the toasted oak go out hand in hand.
Comments: I’m not sure how long this bottle had been open before the sample was poured for me some 7 or 8 years ago but it tastes like it *might* have lost some fruity oomph (the time it spent in the sample bottle after that might not have helped either but it was tightly sealed). There’s still enough of the fruit here though to put it solidly in line with the profile of other Caperdonichs of the early 1970s. And the oak and that hint of peat give it a nice frame. In it’s prime this would have been in the 90s, I’d guess. Still very good though (and I liked it better with water).
Rating: 88 points.
Thanks to Scotchio for the sample!