Glencadam – 22yo 1991, The Rare Casks, Abbey Whisky
(Distilled 1991, Bottled 2014, 96 bottles, 55.3%)
Nose: It’s quite restrained and quiet at first, but really opens up after a few minutes to become super-fruity. Watermelon, tinned pears, lychees – and then some very sweetshop notes: sour apple sweets, bubblegum and pineapple cubes. Slightly waxy, in that Highlands way. Underneath all that there’s a very distinct treacle toffee. With a little water added and a bit more time toasted bread and orange notes start floating around, and there’s an elusive creamy nuttiness too. Coconut milk, maybe?
Taste: Very sweet with honey and lemon. Touches of grassy and herbal notes, with vanilla and honeydew melon. All the confectionery is still there. There are some floral – even slightly perfume-like – characteristics too, somewhere between parma violets and the real kind. As it develops you get a sweet malty Hob-nobs thing happening. The coconut / almond milk is still there too, and that describes the mouthfeel too. Milky rather than creamy.
Finish: There’s a really juicy and mouthwatering quality to this whisky, but it’s not particularly big in body or in the finish. Rather there’s a subtly lingering sweet citrus, with quite a lot of grain and barley. Right at the end you get lovely little hints of liquorice and pineapple cubes.
For a “restrained and quiet” whisky there’s a lot going on with this one, but it’s never in-your-face and rewards a bit of patience. Be careful with adding too much water. There are quite a lot of Speyside characteristics here (although the melons are pure Bruichladdich, if that makes sense) but tempered with some Highlands complexity and subtlety. I like it a great deal.