Mark from Malt Samples Small Batch Whisky From WM Cadenhead.
Mark joins us once again on the blog to take us through some recent new fills from Scotland's oldest Independent Scotch whisky bottler, WM Cadenhead. Five small batch offerings from Glenburgie, Tobermory, Glenrothes Arran & Aberfeldy and a single cask Bunnahabhain.
Tasting notes from Mark Newton
A pale gold colour, indicating perhaps second-fill casks. On the nose it brings a
huge blast of orchard fruits, followed by this rather nice, gentle undercurrent of lime marmalade. A slight huskiness lingers beyond the fruits, once they fade, with traces of cereal and dried hops. Orange peel and blackcurrants, then clover honey with dried tea. There’s far more intensity to the taste than the nose had suggested, bringing yet more baked apples and pears come to the fore. There’s also almost a mead-like quality with flashes of honey. Here and there, with blackcurrant jam and lighter, greener fruits like gooseberries. Long, slightly oily and slightly winey too. There’s a vicious texture to this one, and all in all it’s a very pleasing dram.
A very pale, almost white wine colour to this – astonishingly pale after 21 years! And so the flavours indeed are rather delicate to accompany it: fresh, floral, with grapefruit, gooseberries, green apples and traces of vanilla. It’s all about those estery green apples once again to taste, but lots of yeasty, cheesy, slightly sweaty feints underneath it all. Digestive biscuits, then echoes of new make – astonishing considering the age. Lots of black pepper once again on the finish, with feints showing right at the end.
A classic old gold colour, with a lovely nose. Baked apples and sundried tomatoes, with dried apricots and sultanas. Slight wafts of vanilla custard follow, perhaps with tiramisu. Then pencil shavings, touches of fennel and salted caramel. There’s a lovely mouth feel, with some nice fruit and spice. Baked pears drizzled with golden syrup, nutmeg, cinnamon and black pepper all follow, with blood oranges and a little grapefruit acidity. Honey and some lime juice lead into a warming, chili-pepper finish. It’s lovely to taste an independent Glenrothes that isn’t a heavily sherried specimen (there do seem to be a lot about) and this allows a good spirit to show.
Some gorgeous gentleness to the peat here – if indeed there’s much at all – as it’s blended with a real malty quality. And it’s one of those really fascinating, characterful Bunnas on with smoked salmon, balsamic vinegar, elderberries, blackberry jam and a slight umami sensation. Salted caramel to taste, with Assam tea, redcurrants, blackberries again. A slight sour, musty quality, which I’ve known before in some outlier Bunnahabhain casks, and it strays into olives and sundried tomatoes. Dark chocolate leading into a slightly salty, oily finish, with a crunch of burnt toast. Really hugely characterful and great fun.
A handsome yellow gold colour to this. Soft on the nose: buttermilk, vanilla, blackcurrants, dried apricots, sour cherries, warming ginger and a touch of coffee. Super flavours lead to a silky texture on the palate. A heck of a good balance between sweet fruits and slightly sour maltiness. Blackberries, coffee, dark chocolate and heather honey with just a touch of tannins on the finish. There is some very good stuff coming from Arran and this is no different.
Gosh, very pale! White wine, if that. grassy, elderflowers, with delicate traces of green apple. Plenty of straw-like notes and a creamy undercurrent, with echoes of a rather fruity new make spirit. The creaminess continues on the palate, with a lightly slightly waxy quality to the spirit. Then traces of cinnamon and light floral honey. Grassy, again, with some sharp grapefruit sourness to balance. The finish medium length bringing grapefruit and pepper .
It's the 175th anniversary year for WM Cadenhead, so we're expecting some exciting new bottlings to hit the shelves in the coming months.