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For the last three or four years I have made a concerted effort to investigate and taste malts from the smaller and lesser known distilleries. I have been trying for some time to get my hands on a bottling of Glencadam, and finally took the plunge and ordered one from Scotland. Shipping costs were quite high, but in the end it was all worth the pain.
Glencadam is a Highland distillery located in Brechin (Angus County) and is privately owed by Angus Dundee. Its malts are used in several blends and four or five expressions of their malt is marketed by the distillery
The bottle I acquired is an independent bottling from Hunter Laing for its Old Malt Cask series. This malt was bottled at 19 years old at 50% ABV (distilled November 1996 and bottled August 2016) and the outturn from Cask HL 12775 was only 145 bottles.
Color: Bright gold. "No colouring".
Nose: Clean and crisp. The barley is foremost, displaying a definite gristy, floury character. Now a complex amalgam of vanilla, oak, honey and creamy butterscotch makes an appearance. This is not a huge or dramatic nose, but one that makes the most of its subtleties; it demands some time.
Palate: Creamy and soft delivery. The barley sugars arrive early but my mid-palate a nice bitter-sweet interchange occurs as the spices and wood tannins arrive. A surprising bit of salt brings things to a close.
Finish: Long and a bit dry spurred on by buzzing spices. The lack of bitterness after 19 years in cask bespeaks to the fine quality of the wood.
All in all a top notch Highland dram. In my limited experience it seems that Glencadam and Hunter Laing are devoted to producing a quality product. I tasted this dram neat at 50% and the soft delivery without any alcohol burn is a testament to the quality of the distillation process as well as to careful cask selection.
I feel quite privileged to be one of only 145 to have been able to purchase this bottle.