Cambus 1991 22 Years Old (Signatory Vintage)
Cambus was closed down over two decades ago in 1993, but independent bottlings of this grain distillery pop up every now and again. This Cambus 1991 22 Years Old from Signatory Vintage was bottled a couple of years ago, and has spend its maturation in a refill butt.
The distillery was once used in an interesting marketing ploy, way back in 1906. At the time there was a heated debate going on about the use of the term whisky. Malt distillers were of the opinion that grain whisky shouldn’t be allowed to call itself whisky.
DCL (now Diageo) bottled a seven year old single grain from Cambus and advertised it on the front page of The Daily Mail. It was supposed to sway the public and the deciding courts. The 1908 Royal Commission eventually decided in favor of the grain distillers.
Cambus 1991 22 Years Old (53,8%, Signatory Vintage, C#55888)
Nose: I know grain whiskies need to breathe, but I find it hard to get used to that. An hour in and it still is very simple. Let’s wait another half hour then. A little less herbal than when I first nosed it right after pouring myself a glass. Still a fair amount of varnish, but also some frosting, coconut and vanilla. Pine needles too, but also some peanuts and creme brûlée. Quite good now.
Taste: Did not expect it to be as creamy and mouthcoating as it is. Scoring points here. Also lots of cappuccino. Mocha. Very reminiscent of a bourbon. Quite a lot of wood and plenty of vanilla sweetness. Orange liqueur too. Pine sap. Brown sugar.
Finish: Sweet and long.
Patience is rewarded in the case of this Cambus. Balanced and fairly complex too. I like it!
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.