31 May 2017

26/05/2017 Campbeltown Festival 2017 (Day 3 -- Part 2) Cadenhead's 175th Anniversary Tasting

This year is a bit special, for the oldest independent bottler in Scotland. Wm. Cadenhead is turning 175. Not bad, for a business that started selling whisky to grocery shops and public houses in 1842.
There have been announcements and small celebrations since January, and preparations since 1992, if the people in charge are telling the truth. Two days ago, all that anticipation came to an apotheosis, as the specially-labelled 175th Anniversary Collection was made available for purchase. And then disappointment kicked in for the many, many people who could not get any of the special bottles (the lucky ones were part of a draw), as well as resentment towards certain individuals who managed to bypass the draw and score the whole collection, then saw fit to parade on social media. But karma is a bitch.

Anyway, today's lineup was never announced, yet there was no doubt Cadenhead would probably pour some of those special bottles to the fortunate ones who scored tickets to this masterclass, which Mark Watt is presenting. And indeed, all six are here. And two more. Wow.

Watch and fucking drool!

Hielanman Spirit Drink 45yo 1971/2017 (38.8%, Cadenhead 175th Anniversary, 75b): this is not whisky, since it is below 40%. Rumour has it that it is from a fine Speyside distillery. I expect it to be educational. Nose: fruity, with honey, hay, peach and melon. Mouth: soft, mellow, peachy -- soft, but by no means watery or tired. In fact, it is rather lively, with honey and cut flowers. Finish: now a little weaker, though it retains the honey and flowery touch. It sold out yesterday, unfortunately. 8/10

MW: "I buy whisky to drink. Sometimes, I even pay for it."

The one with the skirt is a man.
By the looks of it, he is being potty trained ;-)
Littlemill 26yo 1991/2017 (52.6%, Cadenhead 175th Anniversary): nose: extremely fruity, with mango and milk chocolate, cut grass and decaying tropical fruits (the clogged-sink or hiking-boot smell). Mouth: meow. Fruity and velvety, peachy, apricot-y, mango-y. Finish: hiking boots and clogged sinks, tropical fruit left in the fruit basket for too long. Amazing. 9/10

Rosebank 25yo 1991/2017 (50.5%, Cadenhead 175th Anniversary, Barrel): nose: so many flowers and perfume. This smells of gentleness and distinction. Mouth: peach and buttery apricot jam, melted white chocolate. Finish: flowery and balanced, with lots grapes and orchard fruit. Superlative. 9/10

The moment tOMoH realises the Banff
is the dog's bollocks
Banff 40yo 1976/2017 (51.2%, Cadenhead 175th Anniversary, Bourbon Hogshead, 192b): nose: this is slightly more austere, with flint and mustard, a strong mayonnaise and seaside custard -- it makes no sense, but that is what it evokes to me. Mouth: good balance, with a bit of barley, then balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Finish: mustard and home-made mayonnaise, olives. The balance is unbelievable. Emotional. 10/10

Talking about the well-known bombing of Banff, during the war:
MW: "When they finally milked the cows, that's when they discovered Bailey's."

Convalmore 40yo 1977/2017 (56.8%, Cadenhead 175th anniversary, Butt, 522b): I cannot keep up with the pace. Rather than downing this, I put it in a sample for later.

MW: "I got the job because I could reach the top shelf. That's why Cameron doesn't work there."

MS is not playing Tetris on his phone -- he is taking notes
Caperdonich 39yo 1977/2017 (50.4%, Cadenhead 175th Anniversary, Sherry Butt, 462b): nose: a lot of alcohol and a huge sherry influence, nutty and leathery. Mouth: an unbelievable balance of leather and chocolate, toffee, butterscotch. Finish: long and wide, with chocolate and leather saddles, more butterscotch and dried fruit. Wonderful. 9/10

MW: "We nearly bottled this last year. Then we realised it was a butt... and it wouldn't fit through the door."

MW: "I happened to have a bottle of Caperdonich 1972 on me. You always need to have a bottle of Caperdonich on you."

Heaven Hill 20yo 1996/2017 (50.8%, Cadenhead 175th Anniversary, Barrel): nose: spearmint (JS), liquorice. This is sweet and syrupy, slightly leathery too. It has notes of sweet chocolate and candyfloss. Mouth: candyfloss again, dark wood and corn syrup. Finish: chocolate, with perhaps a little bit of coffee. This is nice. 8/10

Ardbeg 23yo 1993/2017 (52.4%, Cadenhead 175th Anniversary, Hogshead): nose: smoke, smoked mussels, fishing nets. Mouth: more fishing nets and lovely seafood. Finish: drying, with fishing nets again and smoked cockles. Nice. 7/10

Here is to another 175 years

We need a nap. That was exhausting.

Next episode here.

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