Glencadam is a little known distillery that is located in the eastern Highlands. It was built in the town of Brechin (between Dundee and Aberdeen) in 1825 and is the last remaining distillery in an area that was once a thriving whisky producing area. The current owners are Angus Dundee Distillers and they took over the distillery and in 2003. It had been closed by the previous owners in 2000, but kept intact so that production could restart when required (this is known as 'mothballing'). They soon had Glencadam running back at full capacity (approx. 1.4 million litres per year). Glencadam has a reknowned history for producing and supplying whisky to Scotland's biggest blending houses and formed an important part of top selling blends like Ballantine's and Teacher's.
A.D. Rattray is one of Scotland's best known independent whisky bottlers and was originally an importing company for wine, olive oil, continental spirits and aperitifs. Formerly known as Dewar Rattray, it was founded by Andrew Dewar and William Rattray in 1868 and soon became involved in the bottling and blending of whisky from some of the local distilleries. Nowadays, the company is run by Tim Morrison, who is a fourth generation descendent of Andrew Dewar. He took control in 2004 and independently resources top quality whiskies from all over Scotland, with the aim to bring unusual, different and single cask whisky to the consumer. For further information, go to www.adrattray.co.uk.
This Glencadam was distilled in 1990 and bottled at 16 years of age. It is a single cask release (a bourbon cask), consisting of just 271 bottles and is at cask strength (a hefty 59.7% ABV in this case!). The colour is bright and golden and the nose intense but very fresh. There is a lot of malty cereal grain initially with a lovely combination of intense coconut, vanilla and a hint of dried fruits (think of apricot especially) coming through. On the palate, this is clean, lively and again very fresh. Despite the high alcohol content, the whisky feels very well balanced but we did try it with some water later. The maltiness is again the first thing that appears before being quickly joined by the vanilla, coconut and apricot notes from the nose. In addition, there are some oak, toffee, nuts (think of almonds) and spices (imagine nutmeg) that add to the complexity. With water, it feels creamier in the mouth and the initial zingy nature is reduced, with even more maltiness and nuttiness. The finish is lovely and long with a heap of toffee, vanilla and coconut. The prominent maltiness is strong, almost to the point of becoming a little too dry for comfort. Otherwise, an absolutely cracking dram.