Glencadam Distillery was founded in 1825 by merchant George Cooper. The distillery changed hands a number of times between 1837 and 1891. Gilmour, Thompson & Company Limited purchased the distillery in 1891 and used some of the Glencadam product in their brand of blended whisky called “Royal Blend“.
Despite earlier purchases, George Ballantine & Son Ltd finally purchased the distillery in 1956 with ownership eventually being passed to Allied Domecq through further consolidation in the industry. Allied Domecq mothballed the distillery in 2000 before selling the distillery to the current owners, Angus Dundee plc in 2000 (who also own the Tomintoul Distillery).
Angus Dundee quickly resumed production and their output from Glencadam is used in their own blended and vatted malt whisky products, as well as being sold to other blenders. Since 2010 Glencadam Malt Whisky has been available in a range of official bottlings aged 10 to 21 years, as a component of Ballantine’s and Stewart’s Cream of the Barley blended whiskies, Angus Dundee’s own blended and vatted whiskies, and in many other blended brands. Independent bottlings are also readily available, both as single malt and as vatted malts. Just this week I got a newsletter from HTFW listing some new limited edition single casks.
Since relaunching the Glencadam line with new packaging in November 2008 a new 10 year-old single malt and three other expressions: a 21-year-old, a 12-year-old finished in port wood, and a 14-year-old finished in an oloroso sherry cask have been added.
This month I was lucky enough to join a Glencadam tasting along with some fellow enthusiasts (many thanks to Ben Fox for organising). We were hosted by their one and only Global Brand Ambassador Iain Forteath. As with a lot of tastings over the last 12 months, it was a virtual Zoom tasting, in lieu of a face-to-face tasting that would typically take place at a festival or at the distillery itself. Whilst virtual tastings aren’t always the same as face to face tastings, this one was a great exception to that trend and consisted of not just some great whisky, but also brilliant background information from Iain and interesting debate amongst the attendees.
On the night we tried:
- Glencadam 10 Year Old
- Glencadam 15 Year Old
- Glencadam 21 Year Old
All of the drams are 46% ABV and neither coloured nor chill filtered.
Glencadam 10 Year Old
Nose: Very fresh, lots of hay, soft fruits, gentle wood/spice influence.
Palate: Very balanced, the hay from the nose shines through with a vanilla sweetness.
Finish: Gentle but present maltiness which fades out into the fruit that was present on the nose.
Glencadam 15 Year Old
Nose: An almost salty nose balanced by sweetness. Slightly more closed than the 10.
Palate: Much maltier than the 10, sweeter, yet weightier on the palate.
Finish: Oak driven, the malty palate lingers with the sweetness carrying it all to the end.
Glencadam 21 Year Old
Nose: Back to the lighter end of the spectrum, floral and elegant but with sweet citrus tones, like a zesty orange.
Palate: Light delivery, the orange citrus element grows with a peppery woodiness that wasn’t apparent on the nose.
Finish: Longer than expected for a dram of this age, but not overly impacted by the time served in cask.
My favourite dram of the night was the 15 year old, which I have previously tried a sample of, but didn’t recall this at the time of tasting. It was really interesting to compare the same base spirit, matured for different durations. Glencadam have a great range of bottlings that will appeal to different palates and different drinking preferences; one of the attendees remarked how the 10 year old would go lovely in a highball in the summer, easy to imagine with the lovely fruity and haylike tones! Huge thanks go to both Ben and Iain for organising and hosting a great evening.
Be sure to check out their latest release: Reserva Andalucia a marriage of sherry butts and bourbon barrels to pay homage to their fond relationship with the sherry region of Jerez in Andalucia. Available on Amazon.