Whisky tastings during COVID-19 are certainly different and will hopefully soon be a distant memory. The ones on Zoom are massively preferable above the tastings hosted on one-way platforms like YouTube and Facebook, where interaction is minimal. But still, it’s not the same as in-person tastings.
And yet, last night I participated in a Glencadam tasting (thankfully on Zoom) with their brand ambassador, Claire Tesh. Or I should say: I listened to Claire and the others talk, drank the whisky that was kindly sent to me and made the occasional remark. I’m not one to jump into the foreground in real life—and I’m not much different digitally. I enjoyed the tasting though. I scribbled down notes too, because we tried some interesting whiskies. (Not necessarily in the order below.)
Glencadam Reserva Andalucia (46%, OB, 2020)
Nose: Finished for a minimum of 12 months in first-fill Oloroso sherry casks, this is a new release. It’s pretty light and certainly not a sherry bomb. A touch of rhubarb, but then creamy caramel and a bunch of berries (straw and rasp). Taste: Sweet and oily, but not so much vanilla like the 10, but rather sugary and fudge-y. Then also a good amount ripe banana, almost candy-esque at times. A layer of spiciness and nuttiness in the background. Finish: Lingering peanut skins. Red fruits. Finally a slight ashiness. Medium in length.
Glencadam 10 Years (46%, OB, 2020)
Nose: Light and spirit forward with fruits like mush banana, green grapes and a touch of mango, but also a fair amount of vanilla custard. Taste: Sweet vanilla arrival and barley sugar with a spicy follow-up. Slightly peppery and a touch of chalk also. Finally a whiff of straw. Finish: More of the same. Short to medium in length.
Nose: Five years in a port cask (more of a double maturation than a finish) and yet this isn’t necessary cask driven and certainly very well integrated. Fresh red fruits like cherries and strawberries, but also a touch of star anise. However, I also get some orchard fruits, think apple skin and pears. Taste: Rather creamy, but now the Port influence is much more noticeable. It’s spicy in a subtle way and a bit wine-y, but there’s dark chocolate, brambles, tobacco leaves and cherries as well. A touch of charred oak. Finish: More of the above, but some lighter fruits as well. Medium to long.
Glencadam 21 Years (46%, OB, 2020)
Nose: Light and creamy with a touch butter cake, but also apple sauce, lemon zest and a tinge of pineapple. Just a whiff of oak. Taste: A somewhat spicy, oaky edge (cloves) with soft sweet notes and a creamy mouthfeel. Becomes oilier with water, which brings out rye bread and a touch of pineapple. Finish: Slightly dry with a lingering grassiness.
Glencadam is not necessarily a singular single malt that I would easily pick out of a lineup during a blind interview. And although I don’t like using regions to pigeonhole whiskies, I will say Glencadam is probably lighter than you’d expect from a Highlands distillery.
Easily the star of this lineup, the Triple Cask Portwood Finish is a whole notch above the rest of the whiskies tasted. It’s integrated, rich, succulent and not too wine-y. I’d absolutely recommend it.
The new Reserva Andalucia is nice but won’t soon set your world on fire. However, I prefer it over the other recent Angus Dundee sherry finished whisky—the Tomintoul Seiridh.
Finally, the 10yo and the 21yo certainly have a shared DNA. I’ve actually tried the latter before in 2016 and my opinion of it hasn’t changed much. It’s good and decently priced, but doesn’t really stand out among the pack. From a value perspective I enjoyed the 10yo a tad more. It’s a proper, decently fruity, light single malt that works on most occasions.
Thanks so much to Claire for hosting myself and a slew of others. She’s knowledgeable, engaging and a great ambassador for Angus Dundee. Here’s to hoping we can actually meet in person again sometime in the future—sooner rather than later.