I previously enjoyed the very subtle Glencadam 10-year, a distillery official bottling that became available after the distillery was purchased and re-opened by Angus Dundee Distillers in 2003. Now, the new ownership is celebrating the “re-awakening” of the distillery by releasing this 13 year-old limited edition run of 6000 bottles, 3000 for the US market. This is comprised of whisky run from the stills in 2003 after the distillery sale, following a brief 3-year period of non-operation. The whisky is aged in ex-bourbon casks and is bottled with “craft presentation”: 46% ABV with no added coloring and no chill-filtration.
The whisky is a very pale straw color.
Nose: Soft, round notes of nougat and marshmallow, marzipan, and buttered scones (ok, ok, any buttered bakery item). Subtle and simple, but with depth of aroma and no rough edges.
Palate: Full-bodied, almost syrupy. Nougat upfront, with a moderate to heavy tongue burn. Chewy, with elements of burnt caramel, nut butters, and dried coconut. Pleasant, lightly sweet, and mild.
Finish: Medium length. Toasted brioche. Bittersweet chocolate, fades to light oak, toasted walnuts, and vanilla taffy.
With Water: The addition of a few drops of water seems to mute the nose, but amplifies a clear hazelnut flavor on the palate. Water optional here.
Overall: An accomplished, polished, and tasty expression of Glencadam, showing the distillery’s strengths. Although they have depth, the flavors and aromas here are subtle and well-integrated, meaning they require careful contemplation and should not be approached with an expectation of boldness or brashness, like one would with a peated or heavily-sherried malt. The ex-bourbon cask influence is clear, but understated, complementing but not dominating the soft grain and nutty-sweet malt. Its only real flaw is a hotter-than-expected tongue burn, a nitpick.
The suggested retail price is $65, which isn’t bad for a “limited edition” new release these days. Still, we’re talking about a 13 year-old ex-bourbon single malt from a lesser-known distillery, which is something I would expect to see in the $40 or maybe $50 range. Despite that, I thoroughly enjoyed my sample and would consider purchasing a bottle if I needed to fill an ex-bourbon single malt niche in my cabinet. If I saw it for sale under $50, I would snatch it up. If you can’t find it, the official distillery 15-year bottling is available for ehhemm… even more money.