Caledonian 26 Years Old 1986 – G3.3 Curious but good

Scottish single grain whisky

56% ABV, £68.10 from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society

Score: 82/100

SMWS

What they say:

The shimmering, shape-shifting nose started with wood glue, then cricket bats, cigar boxes and polished furniture, before soaring into crème caramel, buttered brioche, vanilla and cafe crème – eventually we found tea-smoked duck. To taste, we got Lapsang Souchong and Turkish coffee, banana toffee and ‘licking butterscotch off a polished table’. The reduced nose seemed slightly odd, with initial raisin, Riesling and truffle oil resolving into honey, toffee and crunchy nut cornflake sweetness. The palate became sweet and spicy, ‘curious but good’ – hickory-smoked almonds, toasted hazelnuts, sandalwood, five-spice powder and apple skins in the finish. The Haymarket-based distillery closed in 1993.

Drinking tip: A dram to offer when something different is needed – needs an open mind

Date Distilled: 29 April 1986 Colour: Old rolled gold Age: 26 years Flavour : Juicy, oaky & vanilla Cask Type: Refill ex-bourbon barrel Whisky Region: Grain

G3.3SMWS

What I say:

Dram #4 at the Water of Life Society EWB Greatness of grain tasting was this 26 year old single grain whisky distilled at the Caledonian distillery (SMWS distillery #G3) near Haymarket in Edinburgh. Caledonian distillery closed in 1988.

Colour:

Full amber gold, heavy tears with light trails

Nose:

Cereal wheat and rye, spicy, latte coffee, honey sweet, wood polish and antique furniture

Taste:

Vanilla custard, butterscotch and toffee, spicy cinnamon and nutmeg, creamy coffee, a little white pepper and bubblegum

Finish:

Medium, spicy oak wood and honey sweetness

Overall:

Interesting but still ‘grainy’ with the chemical nature of the alcohol really only showing through when all other flavours have been extinguished, a more full-bodied finish than most of the other grain whiskies we had tried.