Whisky Review: Caperdonich 20 Years Old 1996 Cadenhead’s Cask Ends

Category: Speyside single malt scotch whisky

Origin: Caperdonich Distillery

Bottling: Cadenhead’s Cask Ends

ABV: 48.9%

Cost: £110

caperdonich-20-years-old-1996-cask-end-cadenheads

What they say:

Distilled at the now demolished Caperdonich Distillery in 1996 and matured for 17 years before being finished in a Sherry Hogshead for 3 years. Bottled by hand from the cask at Cadenhead’s Warehouse in Campbeltown.

What I say:

Dramvent Calender Day 13

This December I am attempting to sample and review a whisky everyday for the 24 days of Advent in the run up to Christmas. My very basic criteria as I sorted through my masses of whisky and samples were these:

  1. Single malt scotch only and should be (or have been) generally/easily available
  2. Each day must be from a different distillery
  3. Each day must be equivalent in age or older than the previous

Unlucky for some[but not us!], our 13th Dram of Advent/Dramvent is this 20 year old from the Caperdonich Distillery demolished in 2010. This has spent 17 years maturing in Cadenehead’s warehouse before being finished in a sherry hogshead for 3 years.

Colour:

Refractive ruby tinged gold (11/20) numerous small tears leave oily thin legs

Nose:

Initially a hint of sherry or red wine balsamic vinegar reduction, fruity with raisin and cherry from the sherry cask but also a medley of apple, pear, peach and plum, quite sweet and almost cloying confectionary shop (old style with dried fruits & sweets), creamy caramel and fudge, a hint of sweetened molten butter and a gentle cereal note, like honey and butter on toasted bread. Quite moreish on the nose, perhaps a hint of milk chocolate once it has breathed a little

Taste:

Thick and syrupy with a rich toffee sauce, butterscotch, fudge, a little rum & raisin, Morello cherry, peach, pear and apricot, a hint of white pepper mixed with grapefruit pith and zest before more sugars, creamy vanilla, stewed tea leaves, orange barley sugar boiled sweeties and oak wood

Finish:

Long, sweet, boiled sweets, polished/hardened toffee, gentle fruits and a whiff of tobacco

Overall:

It is always a joy to sample whisky from a closed distillery with the knowledge that the more you drink there less exists and the more valuable it becomes. Caperdonich doesn’t have a huge collector following and has only recently closed so remains quite affordable (at present). Stock can be a little variable and there is probably good reason that this whisky was finished in a sherry cask to impart a little something that may have been lacking. The result is really rather drinkable and enjoyable. It must be nice for Cadenhead’s to know they have stock like this sitting waiting to be bottled & enjoyed!

Score: 89/100

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