No fancy casks. No fancy finishes. No chill filtration. No colour added. Whisky done simply. That’s what we get from the majority of Glencadam and it’s core range. Matured in ex-bourbon wood and naturally presented at 46%. It’s what I and many others love to see, but many other distilleries still try their hardest to fight against it.
The two whiskies I am trying for this review are the entry level age stated 10 year old, and the 15 year old, which sits in the middle of a congested range that also includes a 13, 17, 18, 19, 21 and 25. The 17 and 19 are finished in port and sherry respectively and provide something a little different to the ex-bourbon signature. Looking at the timeline, it is clear to see that some of these whiskies are likely to be a little older than their age statement, as the distillery was mothballed in 2000 and re-opened in 2003.
Glencadam 10 – Review
Colour : White Wine
Nose : Sharp, zesty and vibrant. Beautifully sweet and fragrant, with some slightly spirity and minerally notes in there. One note I have picked up from other tasting notes and can’t get away from is Haribo gummy bears. It’s there, and it is abundant! Orchard fruits, with sour apple and sweet pears combining, along with a prominent scent of banana. A little damp soil earthiness too.
Palate : This is quite spirit forward, but not aggressively so. Sweet and creamy, with all the fruits and confectionery we had on the palate translating to the palate, which is rather unusual. Orchard fruits, banana and gummy sweets are all there, together with a little bitter charred oak. Malted milk biscuit and a light, oaky, peppery spice, which continues into the moderate length finish.
Conclusions : Just great. The fruit and the confectionery are magnificent and really stand out, especially on the nose. These must be excellent casks Glencadam are using.
Glencadam 15 – Review
Colour : Straw
Nose : It is still quite sharp and zesty, but this is much deeper and richer than the 10. We still have the orchard fruits, along with banana, mango, a little cider vinegar and icing sugar. Creamy custard, the type that’s so thick you can stand the spoon up, just like my mum used to make. Sandalwood.
Palate : Less spirit led than the 10, but still plenty of sweetness initially, with sharp, sour lemon fizzing on the tongue. There’s toffee apple, bitter oak spice and salt. The bitter oak and spice continues into the moderate length finish, along with a creamy maltiness and apple peels.
Conclusions : It’s good. Different to the 10, but with plenty of the same fingerprints that let you know this is from the same place. A creamier dram with those lovely fruit notes present too. My only negative is that I find it a little too oaky on the palate. Maybe too many first fill bourbon casks? It’s only a slight niggle, which by no means takes away from the fact this is an enjoyable whisky.
Final thoughts : While I think both are very good whiskies, the 10 year old is a cut above for my taste. An excellent balance of fruit and spirit, with some lovely fragrant confectionery and a dollop of cream. I paid £31 for a bottle, and it is available under £35 in many places. Outstanding quality to price ratio.
Pictures courtesy of Master Of Malt and used with permission