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BLIND SESSIONS – two ‘HIGHLANDERS’ from cadenhead’s

blind-sessions-cadenhead

Let’s go back to the last reviews made collectively during our blind sessions from the past lockdown: the last two drafts were left on a device that then betrayed us, and we were able to recover them only now, when we returned from vacation. Anyway, let’s face the last two, curiously both bottled by Cadenhead’s: we start with a Glencadam 21 years old from the Authentic Collection serie, we close with a Glen Ord at 46% from the (now discontinued) Small Batch range. These were blind tastings, and the reviews were written without knowing what was in our glass, so please be forgiving.

glencadam-21-cadenhead

Glencadam 21 yo (1989/2010, Cadenhead, 55.1%)

N: very attractive, a textbook ex-bourbon malt. Not extremely tropical, but more along the road of shortbread. The fruity side is there, let’s be clear: abstract yellow fruit, peach skin, ripe apricot, rennet apple. On the contrary, in the reviewing delirium someone dares to say “slices of quince”: we have just created apple sashimi! Alongside the fruit, malt is back by popular demand, then we have custard and chestnut honey. A light vegetal-mentholated note, reminiscent of a sort of ‘bourbon chlorophyll’ (yes, we actually wrote it: what does it mean?, can’t really remember…). Bordered with hot spice, with ganache, where the milk is full and soft.

P: very sweet, indeed. Brown cream and milk, maybe pannacotta. Yellow fruit again, quince reigns (but fresh, not cooked). There’s also a little bit of sweetened orangeade. At a second sip, we’re catched by the suspicion that it could be a bit loose, because next to the malt there’s a bitterness that’s not centered, and the alcohol swerves a bit on the curve. The owner of the bottle told us that it has been open for a few years. It is not aggressive, but sometimes the sensory lines do not match… and yet it remains pleasant and drinkable. Almond and also almond milk. The herbaceous and mentholated hint remains.

F: medium-long, fruity, milk sandwiches, quince.

A pleasant bourbon experience, although not unforgettable. That’s what you’d expect from a good whiskey aged in this kind of cask… and nothing more, you know. It remains a good product (forgive us this dry and not very lyrical lexicon), perhaps a little inclined to sweetness – which could be its main flaw. That said, it is a whisky that certainly leaves you satisfied: 86/100.

Glen Ord 12 yo (2006/2018, Cadenhead, 46%)

N: green bananas, easy, fresh, young, green pepper, green apple. Few pastries. Frosted cereal. Simple white sugar, cut grass. Lemon and citrus fruits, especially there is a little grapefruit juice. A slight balsamic note of pine cone.

P: it drops in alcohol content compared to the previous tastings; it seems simple, sugary – will it be a distillery bottling, or maybe a Provenance? It has a touch of Irish, it could be a very good 10 year OB. It could have been cloying, but it dribbles this chance at the very the last. Vanilla, doughnuts, basic sweetness, liquid sugar. Well balanced though, with barley, dried fruit (fresh hazelnuts), marzipan. To be drunk in buckets without too many thoughts and ramblings. White chocolate. Small mineral note and again a balsamic hint.

F: a touch of condensed milk?, for a mid-length finish, made of cereal sweetness, ovomaltine.

A whiskey to drink, as we wrote, without a lot of fuss. Pleasant, sweet, summery, embellished with a few mineral and citrus notes that dilute its sweetness – sweetness mostly from the spirit, which we really can’t complain of, not at all. 85/100.

Recommended soundtrack: Los Fabulosos Cadillacs – Matador.

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