Caperdonich – 18yo 1995 Berry Bros. & Rudd
(Cask #95076, 46%)
It’s a melancholy business thinking about some of the great distilleries that have been lost to time – Imperial, Littlemill, Brora, Rosebank, St. Magdalene et al – but should we add Caperdonich (mothballed in 2002 and demolished in 2010) to the list of departed legends or be tramping down the sod? Let’s have a shufty.
Nose: Very sweet at first with lots of honey and malt, but also very clean and fresh with an almost pine needle-like grassy quality. There’s a touch of smoke too, which is lovely. Some subtle fruitiness: banana mostly, but some pineapple and orange too. Behind it all there’s some sweetly spicy ginger: think lebkuchen, parkin, stem ginger. A fantastic and enticing nose.
Taste: Toast with marmalade, and some soft baked apple fruitiness. Then gets quite peppery…
Finish: …and gets bigger as it develops with more dried ginger and spices (cloves, cinnamon, a little caraway). Honey too, still some of that zingy pine tree freshness, and a little bit of peat. A long, excellent aftertaste with bitter chocolate.
Pine, ginger, spices. It’s Christmas really, isn’t it? You even get a little bit of smoke from the fire. There’s no Crimbo stodge here though – everything is fresh and crisp and lovely. It’s both unusual and unusually delicious. How annoying that a Speyside distillery of such distinct character and quality has vanished while mediocrities prosper. C’est la vie. There’s no obvious equivalent or replacement so buy some while you can.