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I recently tasted this Caperdonich for a second time in an “old speyside vertical” along with a 77 Glenlivet from Whisky Doris and a 74 Jack Wiebers Longmorn. It was a high quality trio but the Caperdonich stood a level above its companions. The Longmorn was rich and quite wonderful on first nosing but, in time, began to break down, losing some complexity and interest. The Glenlivet was flawless in profile and consistent in the glass but, in this company, was perhaps slightly lacking in depth. The Caperdonich however maintained its characteristic fruity, vibrant complexity throughout, offering a constantly shifting range of notes.
Nose: A typical, high quality 72 Caperdonich on the nose being slightly menthol, nicely fruity and tropical to start; light mango, tangerine, peach and waxy orange rind at the fore with a layer of quince and subtle blueberry adding depth. Some nice wax polish, resin and toasty cacao notes start to build with time alongside hints of praline and nougat. There is a certain, subtle austerity to the whole profile at full strength but a little water opens things up considerably and also draws out mint, fresh frigs and a little candied pineapple/lemon.
Taste: The palette mirrors the nose almost flawlessly at full strength, lots of fruity, jammy complexity; tangerine and dark chocolate coated candied orange with touches of apricot, pineapple and fig jam. A bolder oak presence begins to draws in with a little mint, nutmeg and cinnamon. Touches of walnut skin now set against richly peppered oak heading into the finish.
Feel: Rich and velvety but the relatively firm tannins prevent it from becoming too thick or cloying.
Finish: Long, mostly on ginger and oaken spices with a slightly bitter, citric edge. Some dusty cocoa notes and late fig jam.
Another example then of the incredible consistency that these late 60’s/ early 70’s Caperdonichs so often show. They all seem to be of very high quality with Duncan Taylor having released many casks of a similar nature and The Whisky Agency recently releasing an incredible example to wide acclaim. On the palette at least this one displays a more noticeable level of slightly bitter oak and spices than in the very best casks but, considering the age and the quality of the finest examples, it is quite acceptable and not overly intrusive. I would imagine this particular bottling is largely sold out now but most 72 Caperdonichs offer comparable quality and value for money.