Glencadam 37, 1974 (Whisky-Fässle)

Glencadam 37, 1974
I recently reviewed the official Glencadam 21. Here now is a much older Glencadam from the German bottler Whisky-Fässle. I purchased it in 2012, which may have been the last year that it was easy to get older bottles, especially from 1970s distillate, for reasonable prices from the independents. These days teenaged Laphroaigs are going for close to $200, and probably for more (oh yes, quite a bit more: I just saw a 18 yo Laphroaig 1990 listed for 230 Euros!) It is for this reason that I’ve been slow to open the not very many older bottles I have left—it’s all but impossible now to find any now at non-extortionate prices. This is from a refill sherry cask and its strength has dropped naturally in the cask to just over the minimum 40% required for whisky. I’ve had a number of similarly low strength malts from similarly aged whiskies from this era that have displayed wonderful fruity characteristics (see this G&M Longmorn 40, 1971) and so I was expecting this to be very good when I did open it.  Continue reading

Undisclosed Speyside 20, 1994 (Whisky Fässle)

Undisclosed Speyside 20, 1994, Whisky Fässle
They say that an undisclosed sherried Speyside malt is likely to be a Glenfarclas but I have no idea if that’s true in this case (or in most cases). It’s the kind of thing that’s in the interest of bottlers to have people believe (just as every undisclosed peated Islay is said to likely be a Lagavulin). As far as I know there’s no rule saying that a bottler has to disclose the name of a distillery and so someone who had their hands on a nice cask from a distillery with a poor reputation might well benefit by taking the name off the label and letting buyers fill in whatever they’d like to think it is. I’m not saying that I suspect that’s what’s happening here.  My point is merely that I have no idea what distillery this is from. I do know that it’s rather nice. I first opened this bottle for one of my local group’s tastings a couple of months ago. It didn’t actually fare so very well that night but it’s come on strong as the bottle has stayed open. And now that I’m past the halfway mark I’m very sorry to see its imminent demise.  Continue reading

Two Caperdonichs from 1972

fruit-cocktailThe whiskies I am tasting tonight are from a closed distillery that has become something of a cult phenomenon in recent years: Caperdonich. As is not unusual among closed distilleries, the cult has been somewhat late to form. Caperdonich was never a storied distillery in its heyday of production, coming into being as Glen Grant 2, and then being closed for most of the 20th century until it was rebuilt in 1965 and renamed Caperdonich (due to a law prohibiting two distilleries from having the same name; this is also why the old Clynelish distillery became Brora in the late 1960s). It was never intended to be a frontline single malt, and most of its production went into blends until it was closed in 2002 (this is not unlike the situation with perhaps the most iconic of all closed distilleries, Port Ellen, which was a workhorse distillery until it closed in 1983). While some old-school independent bottlers–Cadenhead’s and Gordon & Macphail–released the odd single malt bottling over its active life (I have not tasted any of these) it wasn’t until the early 2000s–ironically, right after the distillery was closed–that it gained a wider reputation. This was due largely (entirely?) to the release of a number of bottlings of very old casks from the late 196os and early 1970s by a number of independent bottlers, especially Duncan Taylor. Continue reading