Caperdonich Distillery, now sadly closed and dismantled, was the sister of Glen Grant: the link was so evident that initially it was actually called “Glen Grant #2”! The subalternity of the distillery to the more famous neighbor was testified by the presence of the famous “whisky pipe”, a tube that connected the two distilleries to allow an easy transportation of the spirit from one to the other. All this, for the pleasure of the natives, who possibly enjoyed the losses from the tube… It seems that 1972 was a magical year for Caperdonich, given the quality of most of the spirits of that vintage:increasingly rare spirits, of course, and increasingly expensive. We got our hands on a sample of a
last year’s release of the excellent German bottler Whiskey Agency (The Perfect Dram series), 38 years spent in a refill-sherry barrel. Color: light coppery.
N: a triumph of fruit (both ripe and not!, it’s rare to find such a wide range: orange jam; a lot of apricot; but also figs, dates, citrus peel, mandarin, tropical fruit… honestly, an embarassement of riches, really). Strudel. Notes of wood (wax for wood, but also that intense scent of wood, freshly cut and left in the sun, perhaps after a storm… are we exaggerating?); almost balsamic hints (aniseed? eucalyptus and saffron too?). Notes of red fruits (strawberry, raspberry). In the background, even if gradually they acquire intensity, there are very ‘mountain-like’ notes: we’d say cloves and rhubarb, which go hand in hand with very intense notes of wax (just beeswax, not candles). Chocolate, peaches in syrup, marron glacé. A masterpiece, that keep changing! From time to time, wax and spices dominate, then wood, chocolate, fruit … The water (unnecessary even
if at 58.4%) only prolongs the game.
P: without water, it doesn’t come without edges: after a first alcoholic and spicy attack (maybe just pepper, then a lot of beeswax), as it spreads in the mouth it throws out very intense ripe fruit (apricot jam!, raisins, tropical fruit, fresh figs); lemon cookies. In such a successful aging, malt offers its best. Fantastic wood (with a lovely spice bouquet); we may be drunk already, but here and there we taste notes of bergamot tea (the old earl gray, you know?). With water, red fruit explodes and still those extraordinary spicy notes. Honey, of the less sweet ones.
F: long; bitter fruit (say orange jam) dominates, then again beeswax, wood… Coffee beans? Again Bergamot Tea?
We bought the sample because we wanted to taste a Caperdonich at any cost, and above all a vintage so renowned; we do not know if the very high expectations influenced us, but this whisky seemed truly splendid: extraordinary complexity, excellent contribution of the cask, which –
although it’s there, with its spicy contribution – never takes over, even after 38 years. If you are lucky enough to taste it, spend some time with it: the fruity sweetness and the ‘edges’ integrate beautifully and deserve to be listened to, in every single beat of their incessant dialogue. 93/100: it used to cost 200 euros, last year it was already going to 500 in auction.
Recommended soundtrack: Janis Joplin – Summertime.