In the 20+ years since Andrew Symington (of Signatory Vintage) bought Edradour, the distillery has made great strides. It has gone from one infamous for its inconsistent, sometimes soapy distillate, to a distillery that is slowly gaining a cult-ish following. Today I review the Edradour 12 Years Caledonia.
Regardless of inconsistency in the early days, Edradour was always greatly appreciated for its traditional approach, and I personally remember the Edradour 10 Years quite fondly from the start of my whisky journey. Having read some earlier reviews of it, I must’ve bought a good batch, or my palate sucked. It wasn’t exactly well-regarded at the time.
The distillery is small, but not as small as it once used to be, and certainly not the smallest in Scotland, which is how it positioned itself for quite some time. Especially now that a second distillery was built on the same site. It is an exact replica, including the famed Morton refrigerator.
Interestingly, there are plans to build another exact replica, but not in Scotland. In David Stirk’s book Independent Scotch, Symington discloses a third Edradour distillery might be constructed in Germany. Edradour’s German importer Kirsch is supposedly involved too. How, when, and if this will ever happen is still unclear.
Back to the Edradour 12 Years Caledonia, a whisky named after Dougie Maclean’s eponymous song. Initial maturation in ex-bourbon casks is followed by an Oloroso finish of 4 to 5 years.
Edradour 12 Years Caledonia (46%, OB, 2022)
Nose: There’s candied fruits, hazelnuts and charred oak along with a touch of orange zest. Also just a whiff of honeyed porridge, jammy apricots and leather accompanied by trace evidence of gunpowder. Taste: Relatively thick mouthfeel. There is some ginger, burnt toast and black pepper, as well as notes of dark chocolate, mushrooms, almonds and leather. Raisins too. Finish: Medium to long. Slightly drying. Red fruits, blackberries and oak spices.
Had I tried this blind, I wouldn't have been surprised had someone told me this was one of Billy Walker's creations over at GlenAllachie. His use of dominant sherry casks and virgin oak is reminiscent of what I encountered in this Edradour 12 Years Caledonia. A proper flavour bomb.