Glencadam 15 Years Review

“Room For Improvement” 

Whisky Review # 687

Country: Scotland
Region: Highlands
Brand: Glencadam 
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 15 Years 
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 46%
Maturation: Bourbon casks  
Chill Filtration: No      
Price Range: Around US$ 60 (February 2018). 
Buying Advice: 😐 Price Quality ratio is okay. Misses the Wow factor.   

Colour: Light Golden (Natural Colour)

Nose: Quite clean and unpretentious. Not a whole lot going on. I'm pretty sure that Refill Bourbon casks were used for maturation. I don't detect off-notes but the Alcohol is noticeable. I find Malted Cereals, Toast and Margarine, Vanilla, Heather-Honey, Salted Caramel, Toasted Nuts, Fresh Dough, Wood Pellets, Hay, Grass, Green Apple, Strawberry Jam, slightly Sour Citrus (Grapefruit, Orange, Lemon), Oak Char, Dusty Sand Road, Mint/Menthol, Ginger, Cinnamon, Clove and light Pepper.     

Palate: The delivery is a little Thin despite the adequate ABV. The Alcohol is too present here as well. Other than that it's all pretty clean and straight-forward without any surprises. I find Sweet Malted Cereals, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Oak Char, Bounty Candy Bars, Green Apples, slightly Sour Citrus (Grapefruit, Lemon and Orange), Grass, Hay, Pepper, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Ginger, Clove, Herbal Tea, Menthol and again this hint of Strawberry - or Raspberry Jam.

Finish: Middle-Long and Bitter Sweet. The Bitterness increases towards the Dry end. The Alcohol burns a bit but the sensation is not too bad. A Metallic off-note is noticeable as well. I find Sweet Malted Cereals, Vanilla, Salted Caramel, Oak Char, Grapefruit Juice, Bitter Oranges, Lemon, Pepper, Nutmeg, Ginger, Menthol, Cinnamon, Resin and hints of Caffe Latte, Strawberry Jam and Cassis Liqueur.

Drinking Advice:

I added a little Water and the Nose becomes very Grassy. On the Palate and in the Finish the Alcohol retreats somewhat but Menthol and Wood Spice become pretty dominant. You can add a few drops if you like but personally I prefer to sip it neat.  

Rating: 82.5    

Nose: 21 - Taste: 21 - Finish: 20 - Overall: 20.5

Image result for Glencadam 15 years

General Remarks:

🏣   The Distillery and Today's Whisky:

The Glencadam Distillery is located in Brechin (Angus) close to the (small) river Esk. The Distillery was built in 1825. Since 1954 it was subsequently owned by Hiram Walker and Allied Lyons and was mainly used in Blends like Ballantine's, Teacher's and Cream of the Barley. It was mothballed in 2000 and things looked bad until Angus Dundee Distillers bought it in 2003 and brought it back to Single Malt status although it's still used in many Blends as well (Parker's, Dundee, Angus). Glencadam calls its whisky "The Rather Delicate Highland Malt". They currently produce 1,3 million litres per year. The current core range includes the Origin 1825, the 10, 13, 15, 21 and 25 Years. The distillery has sufficient old stocks to be able to offer a wide range of vintage Single Malts. 

The Glencadam 15 was first released in 2005 but a redesigned 46% expression was launched in 2008 and that's the one I'm tasting today.

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🍷  The Spirit 

Glencadam operates one pair of stills with Lyne arms that run upwards at an angle of 15 degrees producing a medium-bodied, medium Sweet, Fruity, Creamy and Nutty Spirit. The Water is sourced from Springs in the Unthank Hills.

🌲  The Wood:

The Glencadam 15 Years matured in (mostly refill) Ex-Bourbon casks. 

Drinking Experience: Good but not very interesting.

Conclusion: The Glencadam 15 is a pretty straightforward, no non-sense Single Malt with a good Price/Quality ratio. It does have a few flaws though and in my opinion they are caused by indifferent cask management. I miss the rich Aromas and Flavours that good Bourbon casks can bring. The basics are there but in a  sort of muted way. Another issue is the Alcohol that is too present everywhere but especially in the Finish. I also don't care for the slight Metallic off-note in that department. Glencadam is certainly going in the right direction. They do not add Caramel and all Single Malts are non Chill-Filtered. The ABV is adequate as well. Glencadam has a long history of producing Spirit for Blended Whisky. We all know that cask management is not a big issue there. But if you really want to conquer a lasting place in the Single Malt market the cask choice does become very important. As it stands today, the Glencadam 15 Years is an alright Single Malt but nothing special. There's certainly room for improvement. The Fruity Glencadam Spirit deserves it!

Jan van den Ende                                                                February 15, 2018

Image result for glencadam distillery

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