Review: William Cadenhead 43yo Blend

William Cadenhead 43-year-old Blended Whisky

Getting older is pretty annoying at the best of times, but if you’re a whisky fan then there’s a particular poignancy to every passing year (happy 2017!) making drinking whisky older than oneself more and more expensive and, eventually, impossible. It’s a sort of irresistible distilled spirit event horizon. Cheers to Cadenhead, then, for bringing out this blend that is both much older than me and remarkably reasonably-priced. I’m maybe OK for a few more years yet before being spaghettified.

The label doesn’t disclose much, but this is a blend of Glenlivet, Glenfarclas and Invergordon. All distilled in 1973.

Nose: Musty old sherry cask at first, clearing to a sweet and biscuity nose. Chocolate digestives, in fact. Buttermilk, rancio cognac, hay and walnuts. Nice! There’s this slight sense of PVA glue and conkers – very evocative of primary school!
Taste: Fresh and a little citrussy at first (cherry juice too, I think), then darkening into dried fruits, sherry and chocolate.
Finish: A really big, full finish. Roasted chestnuts and green walnuts. Brown sugar and orange liqueur. Earl Grey tea with lemon? A hint of smoke too, taking that tea in a more lapsang souchong direction.

I’ve tasted a fair few old whiskies that have died in the cask; either getting oaky and dry, or just losing any vitality or sparkle. This uisge is very much beatha though (with apologies to Gaelic speakers currently wincing!) and fresh as a daisy. It also somewhat resists study by being so easy to drink – it disappears at speed by the glassful. This is, obvs, a good thing, but you do sometimes feel that you should be mulling over every drop of ancient spirit rather than breezily quaffing it… Now, win the lottery and get in a stock of this as your daily dram: there’s a plan.

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