Glencadam is one of malts that not well known but has a lot of respect from those that follow the whisky scene closely. They are given high praise for bottling their malts at 46%, non chill filtered and adding no colouring – which is great. Their malts tend to be spirit driven too, meaning that they carefully manage the cask influence to make sure that the qualities from the spirit comes through. To me this shows that the distillery has a lot of confidence in the quality of its spirits and is trying its best to show it off by treating it with care. Good on them I say. However, I have tried their 15 year old malt on the back of rave reviews by the likes of Ralfy and Serge but I found that I could not quite connect with it. I saw it as a solid highland malt but nothing more than that. I have got hold of the 10 and 21 year old version as part of a miniature set which includes the 15, so I will re-review the 15 to see if my opinion has changed and also see what the 10 and 21 year old have to offer.
Whisky: Glencadam 10 Year Old Single Malt Whiskey, 46%
Nose: Peaches and cream, hay, banana, lavender, lemon, barley sugar, confectionery
Taste: Barley sugar, lemon, malt, butterscotch, vanilla, banana, milk chocolate
Finish: Lemon rind, chocolate and malt
Summary: This is very impressive for a 10 year old malt priced at around £35. I could nose this one forever. It is very light but full of flavour and the balance between the sweetness and floral notes is spot on. Some more of that bourbon influence comes into play on the taste with notes of butterscotch and vanilla and it joins in nicely rather than taking over. Towards the end and finish the dry sour notes kick in but in a nice way that rounds of the experience. This is an ideal whisky for newcomers even at 46% because it is so flavourful and light. This is a benchmark 10 year old malt for me.
Whisky: Glencadam 15 Year Old Single Malt Whiskey, 46%
Nose: Hay, grass, tinned fruit, syrup, honey, cinnamon
Taste: Sharp notes, vanilla, malt, butterscotch, bitter grapefruit, lemon rind, cinnamon spice
Finish: Dry bitter oak, grapefruit peel
Summary: My opinion on the 15 hasn’t changed. I get less of the earthy notes compared to when I tried this last time but this doesn’t enhance or worsen the experience for me. The freshness of the 10 year has been subdued in this one and in it’s place I got more spice and bitterness. It tastes stronger than the 10 year old too even though it is also bottled at 46%. After adding water this softened the spiciness down and the initial sharp notes I got on the palate. I also gave it some time but was not being rewarded by an explosion of flavours or even an enhancement of what is already there. I still can’t quite connect with Glencadam 15 year old. It is a solid malt in my opinion but it is still not something I get excited about.
Whisky: Glencadam 21 Year Old Single Malt Whiskey, 46%
Nose: Fresh fruit, honey, barley sugar, vanilla, leather, cinnamon
Taste: Honey, sour lemon, cinnamon, pear drops, pineapple, chocolate, bitter oak
Finish: Dry, sour lemon, bitter oak
Summary: This is some improvement on the 15 year old but I am still missing the freshness and vibrancy of the 10 year old. I am impressed by how it remains still relatively fresh and light for a 21 year malt. I struggled to pick many notes on the taste but after a drop of water and some time it began to open up and I found some nice fruity notes such as pear and pineapple. Not all of the nice notes I was getting on the nose transferred to the taste which was disappointing and towards the end and finish the sourness and bitterness kicked in which went to far for me. I expected a better finish for a malt aged for 21 years. It is pleasant but my expectations were higher for this one. You will have to pay almost £100 for a bottle of this which is not bad for the age compared to other distilleries. However, I think I would rather go for the 10 year old at £35.
Scoring scale: My scores reflect a balance of the overall experience, availability and cost for a whisky,
1 – not to my preference
2 – tastes fine but does not excite me
3 – more to my liking and would revisit occasionally
4 – very much to my liking and would consider as a regular feature on my whisky shelf
5 – permanent feature on my whisky shelf
Image source: www.thewhiskyexchange.com