Caperdonich is not a distillery we are overly familiar with, so this delightful Caperdonich 1995 (17 Year Old) from Abbey Whisky gave us the perfect excuse to have a look at Wikipedia and brush up on our knowledge. There isn’t much there it turns out. The distillery was open for two different periods of time, most recently between 1965 to 2002. Pernod Ricard actually bought it in 2001 and then closed it a year later! The distilleries main function was to supply certain expressions of Chivas Regal with a component whisky – it was never officially released as a single malt by the distillery which goes some way to explaining our ignorance on the whisky. Indeed it is rarely released by independents, but when it is, it proves to be extremely popular.
Abbey Whisky have bottled a mere 96 bottles of this ‘Rare Cask’ release of Caperdonich 17. It hails from 1995, and is at its natural cask strength of 57.8% having spent its life in refill bourbon casks.
The whisky exudes a lovely honeyed amber hue in the glass and really invites you in. The nose is extremely complex and diverse; strong tropical fruits, and in particular, bananas combine with woody leathery notes from the cask before we found some delicious toffee sauce and dirty vanilla which reminded us of American pecan pie and cream. We found the whisky to be quite earthy and raw – think damp grass cuttings, before a final sweetness was detected in the form of sugared pineapple cubes.
The palate delivered a lovely rich peppery spice. It was warming and gentle before it woke you up with a massive hit of chilli and Indian spice that made our mouths water. As this initial heat faded we noticed the introduction of vanilla biscuitiness, predominately in the form of custard creams and malted milk. This whisky is moorish – its only a shame that the sample wasn’t bigger!
The Caperdonich mellows on the finish. It still retains its warmth (from the post chilli heat) but is much sweeter with vanilla and citrus coming through strongly.
There were only 96 bottles of this whisky. If you want one you better be quick! Its always fascinating to taste a whisky from a new distillery and on this evidence we’ll be keeping a close eye on future releases from Abbey Whisky – great first bottle chaps and chapesses!
You can buy the bottle here for a snip at £59.50