Caledonian 1965, 40yo, 43.7% – Clan Denny

Clan Denny is currently the main supplier of old grain whisky, I think. There are some other brands (Sovereign comes to mind) but most whiskies from those are either less frequently released or less old. Not that grain whisky necessarily needs to be old, but in most cases it does get better with age.

Anyway, since most grain distilleries are not more than alcohol refineries, much like chemical plants and much less interesting from a touristy point of view, there aren’t many blog reports on those. I’ve once tried to visit North British, but they weren’t very receiving of my ideas.

Oh, a big benefit of grain whisky is that, generally, it’s a lot cheaper than its single malt counterpart. All except official Girvan releases, anyway.

Well, this IS old. It’s quite light and has a very smooth bourbon like flavor. A lot of white oak influence. Bourbon and Armagnac like notes are most prominent. Minor hints of oak. Dry, wheat like, vanilla and bread crust. Some nutty flavors too, almost Marsala like as well.

The palate is smooth with a tiny hint of pepper. Some other spices and dry again. The bourbon flavors are present still but less so than the scent was on the nose. Vanilla, apple crumble. Baked apple with sweet brown cinnamon.

The finish is light and dry. Slightly spiced but still smooth. Some light, raw oak notes and oak. This is finally where the forty years of white oak kick in.

This is a classic example of old grain whisky aged in American oak. There aren’t that many sherry matured expressions out there, but I’ve had some from Signatory. Those are very different.

The whisky is very old, and therefore very smooth. It also has quite some layers, but comparing it to single malt whisky, I always find that grain whisky has less depth. It’s not necessarily lacking it, since it’s just an entirely different product, but there’s less of it. The light spicy notes, and sweetness of the bourbon flavors combined with some minor fruity hints of baked apple make a very nice and easy drinking dram. A nice change of pace.

Lovely stuff, this.

Caledonian 1965, 40yo, 43.7%, hogshead 2244, Clan Denny

About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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