Towards the end of last October I did yet another ‘last’ bottle share of the year. The last one because I had been stressing my wallet, and everyone else’s in my sharing group. Of course, that wasn’t true and I did another share right after with Springbank’s Latest Local Barley release.
Ever since I became a member of the Cadenhead’s Club early last year I finally managed to put them on my radar. I knew it was a great bottler for longer, but every time I found some cool bottlings I had flamed through my budget already, or was in such a spot to not be doing any bottle-shares. That finally changed.
What also helped was their presence at Maltstock, where I tried some stunning bottlings from their range. Amongst these was a Paul John whisky from India, and there’s one in this share too, because the first one was amazing.
I planned to do five bottles in the share, but the Laphroaig received less than enthusiasm in the sharing group and pushed the price up too high for some of us, so I didn’t get that in the end. I did manage to get a sample which I’ll review shortly.
This share contained a 25 year old Glen Grant, 24 year old Glenlossie, a 6 year old Paul John and a 9 year old Inchgower. All from Cadenhead’s Single Cask and Small Batch ranges.
Glen Grant 25, 1992-2018, Bourbon Barrel, 50.4%, Cadenhead’s Single Cask
Sweet bourbon cask, earl grey tea. Some banana, stewed apple with some cinnamon. Quite a bit of vanilla, but also a bit dry. Crumble pastry, candied orange peel.
More smooth than expected. Quite some oak, cinnamon. Apple, orange and tea again. Apple chutney, with some spices. Rather dry with oak and wood spices.
A lot more typical cask influence than before. Vanilla, apple, white oak, crumble pastry, custard. Hits of cinnamon and tea.
Lots of nice flavors, a bit predictable and generic. But tasty and good. The tea note on the nose was a pleasant surprise, although the vanilla throughout this whisky made it a bit too contemporary for a higher rating.
Glenlossie 24, 1993-2018, Bourbon Hogshead, 53.6%, Cadenhead’s Single Cask
Dry bourbon cask, lots of wood with some crisp fruity notes. Dried lemon and fresh apple. Unripe pear, apple. Somehow, water running over mossy rocks. Mountain streams.
Dry and slightly sharp. Dry hessian, dry oak, dry autumn leaves. Apple, pear, lemon and even dried, dusty pineapple cubes. Also, some malty notes.
More malty with some alcohol heat, based on the big sip. A long lasting finish with dried yellow fruits. Apple, pear, pineapple. Some icing sugar.
I got triggered to buy this based on how amazing the Glenlossie was that FV and I had during their warehouse tasting in April. Luckily, this is in the same vein, but slightly less impressive. I am sure that if rated rationally the other one would be like this one too, except for the fact that I tried that in Campbeltown and it was an amazing trip and that makes me giddy.
Inchgower 9, 2009-2018, Sherry Hogshead, 56.5%, Cadenhead’s Small Batch
Heavy, leathery sherry. Some baking spices, prunes and dates. Fruit and wood. Slightly waxy behind all the sherry violence.
Quite sharp with lots of oak, pepper and a bit more alcohol than I expected. Dry because of the sherry, but with a lot of flavor.
Strong woody flavors, with sherry, spices.
This wasn’t a very expensive bottle at some 50 pounds or so. It is very much worth that, even though I think the distillery character is a bit overwhelmed by the cask. But high quality Inchgower and a high quality cask. What’s not to love?
Paul John 6, 2011-2018, 1 Bourbon Barrel and 1 Bourbon Hogshead, 56.6%, Cadenhead’s Small Batch
Very spicy, with a lot of dry barley and oak. Very concentrated on the nose, not too strong. Lots of wood spices, baking spices, grilled fruits.
It’s sharp on the palate. Again, dry and spicy. Lots of baking spices, not sweet at all. Nutmeg, dry clove, hot cinnamon. Quite some oak.
The finish has something very unscottish. Something very spicy. Dry and oaky.
Damn tasty. Super spicy. Slightly bitter. This is a thrill ride, in a very unique but very delicious way. I had to get used to this before I loved it, but it’s worth getting into. A shame Paul John is getting so expensive, especially these casks that have been in Campbeltown for a year or so.
So, this was a very fun share. I had some sizeable samples for myself, I believe I ended up with 18cl of each, after all shares had been poured out. Normally I would mind that, because that also means extra money sunk into it. However, in this case I didn’t really mind the bit of extra dough at all, since these whiskies were very, very good.
I can only suggest giving Cadenhead some love, since they deserve it. I guess they love the world of whisky too, since they keep releasing these whiskies, mostly at rather acceptable prices compared to what some other bottlers think they can ask!