Glencadam has been rising in international awareness since its rejuvenation by new owner Angus Dundee in 2003. The 15-year was named Whisky of the Year by Ralfy in 2017, which subjected an already very-limited supply to the ravages of the Internet-enabled whisky-loving populace. Prices spiked in the US above $100 and everyone promptly sold out. It’s worth noting that because the distillery was mothballed for a few years prior to its 2003 reopening, there just aren’t any barrels of 15-year sitting around, yet, which explains the supply crunch. Expect to see more bottles on shelves when the reopening juice hits the 15-year mark sometime in 2019. Hopefully this will coincide with a return to previous prices.
If you cannot wait, some UK retailers still have it at the very-reasonable price of (without VAT) $65 per 700ml bottle.
Glencadam’s 15 year-old expression, like most of its releases, is aged exclusively in ex-bourbon casks to retain the distillery character. The whisky is not chill-filtered and has no added coloring, and is bottled (now) at 46% ABV.
Nose: Perfumed, and very floral. Rosewater, lilac, orange blossom, honeysuckle. Next, a wave of green banana, lime salt-water taffy, and kiwi. Exceedingly delicate, and all of the individual notes are ephemeral and fleeting. Underneath the perfume notes is a very thin foundation: very pale malt, mineral water, and banana leaves.
Palate: Medium body, not quite syrupy. A moderate tongue burn is followed by densely sweet honey, fondant, and buttercream frosting. Rosewater, again, with pistachio and nougat. Despite all the sugary notes, it is not cloying.
Finish: Medium-short. Still sweet, with a reprise of some of the floral notes from the palate (nice to see those come full-circle). Fades slowly with pear pastilles, bubblegum, and no bitterness at all.
With Water: A few drops of water bring an odd, ferny vegetal note to the aroma which chases away all of the flowers, which don’t really come back even with a rest in the glass. The palate seems thinner and actually less sweet, with an added tart note of lime. Water is not really needed here, at 46% I think it’s proofed correctly.
Overall: A delicate dram with a host of mostly floral notes to explore. The palate, far from being delicate, is like smooshing your face into a wedding cake. There are no off-notes, although everything seems tied together with spun sugar without a whole lot of substance underneath. It’s a tasty if unsatisfying meal of a dram, although I hesitate to recommend any 15 year-old single malt that rises to the triple digits in price. If you can find it for $60, I think that’s about where it should reside. I suggest waiting until late 2019 when the supply returns to normal.