One of the great things about our whisky passion is our desire to share it with fellow malt meshugenes (crazies in Yiddish). At any given time, postal services around the world handle thousands of packages containing sample offerings being sent world over between lovers of whisky. In this spirit (well…pun intended), Joris Kooijman, a friend from The Netherlands and a sherry aged whisky aficionado, sent me a sample of the now discontinued 1972 Caperdonich together with a sample of the Glenmorangie Sonnalta PX, to be part of a tasting of all five Private Editions.
Caperdonich, originally commissioned as Glen Grant #2, was built in 1898, but was operational for only four years before being mothballed. It was reopened in 1965 as part of The Glenlivet group and was used for some of the Chivas blends, as well as being marketed as a single malt. 1977 brought Canadian ownership in the form of Seagram, who in turn sold it to Pernod Ricard in 2001. Sadly, Perond Ricard mothballed the distillery in 2002, and demolished it in 2010, probably due to the fact that the distillery was designed as an exact replica of Glen Grant and the fact that its malts were never really widely available. Incidentally, one pair of stills from the distillery was installed last year at the Belgian Owl Distillery.
Caperdonich was never one of the big or famous distilleries, nor did it earn the posthumous fame of a Port Ellen or a Brora. But it has a charm and character. It would be interesting to taste a Glen Grant aged in a sherry butt and compare it to a Caperdonich similarly aged. I wonder if that opportunity might present itself in the future….
And that brings us to the Gordon and McPhail Reserve 1972 Caperdonich.
This is a beautiful cask strength (57%) sherry bomb, with a deep bronze color and slow legs.
Nose: Sherry (obviously), fruit (apples, prunes and apricots) cooked to a dessert compote with cloves and a hint of cinnamon, oak and brown sugar on the nose.
Palate: The taste is very full bodied and soft with a freshness, almost citrus flavored candy zest.
Finish: The finish is medium in throat, but leaves a zesty tingle on the back of the tongue, and a very soft dry note on the inside of the cheeks.
This is a gorgeous dram to cherish, if you can get your hands on one, being long discontinued…