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Caperdonich distillery is located at the northern end of Moraytown Village in Rothes and began its existence in 1897 under the name “Glen Grant #2”. It was founded by J. & J. Grant, the same people that had also built Glen Grant distillery. In 1902 Glen Grant #2 closed its doors again, as a consequence of the crisis induced by the Pattinson scandal that caused panic in the Scottish whisky industry around the turn of the century. The distillery remained dormant until 1965 when it was rebuilt by Glenlivet Distilleries Ltd who resumed production. By that time, British law prohibited simultaneously operating distilleries from using the same name, and Glen Grant #2 was reopened as Caperdonich (meaning “secret well”, after the well from which it draws its water). The distillery was sold to Seagram in 1977, and sold again to Pernod Ricard in 2001. One year after purchasing Caperdonich, Pernod Ricard closed the distillery. In 2010 it was sold to Forsyth’s, the manufacturer of copper pot stills in Rothes, and was demolished. This particular expression was distilled in March 1972, aged in a first-fill sherry butt, and bottled by Gordon & MacPhail in August 2011 as part of their Connoisseurs Choice series.
The nose is big and lush: sherry notes are at the forefront, followed by a heavy dose of wood spice, dark fruits, coffee, and chocolate. The influence of the first-fill sherry butt is pretty obvious. On the other hand there are lighter elements lurking in the background, and I detected hints of grapefruits and pineapples.
The palate is medium-bodied, mouth coating and dry. Oaky notes again feature prominently, together with prunes, raisins, chocolate and tobacco. A touch of caramel pops up at the very end.
The finish is long and warming. Sherry and dark fruit flavours continue to linger for a long time.
Over the years I tried a number of Caperdonich expressions, most of them a bit younger and aged in refill sherry casks. While I enjoyed the sumptuousness of this bottling I doubt that first-fill sherry cask aging works too well for Caperdonich as the sherry flavours tend to overpower the fruity flavours that Caperdonich is so well known and loved for. This is an interesting expression but I would rather treat it as an unusual ‘Caper’ representative.