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Edradour is, since 2002, very well known for its releases of finishes and single casks (while before, most of their outturn went into blends) as well as the heavily peated expressions under the name of Ballechin.
One of their latest releases, in September 2009, is this Caledonian 12 year old. It was selected especially for the Year of Homecoming celebrations, by First Minister Alex Salmond and the famous singer songwriter Douglas Maclean.
Douglas Maclean – affectionately called Dougie – selected a single cask in May 2009. It was an oloroso sherry cask that was filled in 1997 (he also selected the vintage for the general release afterwards, because the expression was added to the core range since it was so well received). He named the whisky Caledonia, after his most popular song. In an interview, he said: ‘ I wrote Caledonia, in 1977 on a beach in Brittany, France, when I was genuinely homesick for Scotland. My life has always been based in Perthshire. For me, the location of Edradour, with its neat cluster of whitewashed buildings, traditional equipment and employment of ancient methods of making single malt whisky, combined with its state of the art bottling facility, typify Caledonia. So it is great to be joining forces with Andrew Symington and Edradour Distillery, to bring you this wonderfully rich and complex 12 year old single malt.’
That’s enough of a history lesson on this first day of school. Let’s taste.
The color, full gold to amber, is inviting. It looks appetising and there are nice legs in the glass.
On the nose I get restrained sweet sherry, absolutely not over the top and nicely counterbalanced by honey, fruit (sultanas and figs) and a whiff of peat and cloves. The last four years in the oloroso cask come out beautifully. A pleasant surprise (after my less successful introduction with the standard 10 Year Old).
It is full-bodied and rolls softly over the tongue. The honey and fruit (including oranges) return immediately, upholstered with nuts, caramel and something leather-like. The small touch of peat, typical for Edradour, is not lacking.
The finish is sprinkled with spices, perfect in length and a little dry at the death.
This is a very nice expression from Scotland’s reputed smallest distillery, not only for patriots, but for whiskylovers in general. Not a grand whisky, but a lot more interesting (complex) than the standard 10 Year Old. Available for approx £40.