Getting us started is a whisky bottled by the Cadenhead store in Edinburgh in 2014. The store always has a Campbeltown cask on the go and this was the one they had when two friends and willing mules, D & B, visited it in 2014. The store was then managed by the renowned Jolly Toper who I knew from the Whisky Whisky Whisky forums. I’d asked him to put together a selection of interesting whiskies they could bring back for me. He selected a 21yo Allt-a-Bhainne and a 22 yo Tamdhu and also their current Campbeltown and Islay casks. When I visited Edinburgh in 2018 I purchased a few more of their exclusives including the then-current Campbeltown cask—almost entirely 15 yo sherry cask Springbank and rather good (review here). I have to confess that I’d forgotten that I still had an unopened 350 ml bottle of a 2014 incarnation of that cask; but I found it earlier this year and opened it a month and change ago. Here now are my notes.
Campbeltown Blend, ca 2014 (%; Cadenhead; from my own bottle)
Nose: That very Springbank complex of brine, coriander seed, earthy peat, burlap and leather. Bursting through it comes a big wave of fruit: charred pineapple and peaches rubbed with rock salt. More acid on each sniff and then some melon and tart-sweet mango. Sweeter with a few drops of water: orange juice, toffee
Palate: Everything from the palate in one compressed package that expands as soon as I swallow. A nice bite from the alcohol, salt and peat but very approachable on the whole. The salt expands with each sip and there’s quite a bit of lime now to go with the other fruit. Okay, let’s add a bit of water. Quite a bit of orange now rather than lime and more sweetness here as well.
Finish: Long. The fruit and salt and peat keep uncoiling together. As on the palate with water.
Comments: Quite a bit of sherry cask Springbank in here, I’d guess, and a fair bit of what would normally become Longrow. And most of it not young. Well, that’s all conjecture. What’s not conjecture is that this is great stuff—and I like it even more than I did the 2018 cask. Wish I had a full bottle of it too and not just a few more pours of those 350 ml. Hmmm I should open that 200 ml Islay cask bottle as well.
Rating: 90 points.