Glencadam 1990-2011, 56.6% – Berry Bros & Rudd

Glencadam is, to me at least, one of those distilleries that you’ve tried every now and then, but have never really focused on in one way or another. As in, years ago I tried their official 15 year old and loved it. But after the tasting where I had, I completely forgot about the brand.

When it pops up in newsletters it doesn’t ‘spark joy’ immediately. Mostly because I don’t really have any expectation of the whisky. It could go either way. It could be very spirity or very cask driven. It could be harsh or it could be rather gentle. Many layers of flavor to be peeled back? Who knows?

So, when MZ was selling a sizeable chunk of his collection a year or two ago, and I saw this one in the list, I decided to get my hands on a bottle. It was in the middle of lockdowns, so I could immediately sell a part of it in the ‘Stay the Fuck at Home’ tastings I was hosting.

Image from Whiskybase

Interestingly, now I check the Whiskybase page I see the reviews being all over the place. Some friends of mine score it 86 or 87, but also 82 and 83. Of course, on a hundred point scale that is not the biggest difference, but if we keep in mind that 95-ish% of whisky falls in the 80-89 range, that is very significant.

If you consider that single malt whisky is made from barley, and matured in oak, then this one does just that. There is a lot of barley and oak on the nose, and a lot of straw (so, barley stalks) too. But that’s it.

The palate continues much down the same line, but there’s a bit more sweetness to it. Lots of barley and straw, a rather hot oaky dryness too. There’s a bit of pastry flavor to it, puff pastry I’d say, with almond shavings.

The finish is quite long and warming. The puff pastry note continues, as do the barley notes.

The strange thing is that there is almost nothing to discover, or at least I didn’t find it. However, the focus on barley and oak isn’t necessarily bad. It’s very pure and clean, but it lacks in depth and complexity.

According to Whiskybase this one now should go for little under € 200, and that is way too much for a whisky like this.


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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