Thursday, 22 November 2012

Whisky Discovery #259

Caperdonich 17 Year Old Abbey Whisky (57.8% abv, IB, D.1995)
Speyside Single Cask Malt Whisky
Circa £60.00 70cl

This is the first release in 'The Rare Casks' series by Abbey Whisky, and I was very fortunate to be sent a sample of this magnificent Caperdonich 17 Year Old single cask, single malt Scotch whisky. This limited edition release was distilled in 1995 and left to rest for 17 years before being bottled in 2012 with only 96 bottles filled, in its natural form, at full cask strength, without chill filtering or colour additives.

The 'The Rare Casks' is an exceptional range of limited edition single malt whiskies bottled exclusively by Abbey Whisky, and each release will be available in very limited quantities.

The Caperdonich distillery has a bit of a chequered history, with long periods of closure. When first opened in 1898 it was originally known as Glen Grant #2 it produced single malt Scotch whisky for just four years until it closed in 1902. It remained dormant until it was renovated in the early 1960's and reopened as Caperdonich in 1965 and began producing single malt whisky again until 2002 when it was closed again. Caperdonich was a component of some of the Chivas Regal blended Scotch whisky and as far as I can tell there are no distillery bottlings available, just independent releases from Cadenheads, Signatory, The SMWS, Gordon and MacPhail and now Abbey Whisky.

So What Did I Think?

I loved the way the sample had been packed and delivered to me, and I was very surprised, and fortunate to be asked by Abbey Whisky to be one of the first to taste this and let them know what I thought.

Beautifully package sample dram received
When I first poured the dram into my nosing glass it was initially very spicy on the nose which quickly settled down to become both fruity and floral. There is a light tropical fruit salad going on with papaya, lychee and even a little fresh coconut and bags of fresh vanilla pods before that initial spicy pepper kick starts to sneak back. After a while in the glass malty notes start to develop along with a rich honeyed sweetness. With a drop of water the floral notes seem to come to the fore with a summer meadow of wild flowers, but the vanilla pods remain, and after a little while in the glass becomes more 'winey' on the nose.

On the palate it has a sweet and creamy mouth feel. The fruity floral notes from the nose are very feint on the palate but there is lots of vanilla and custard cream biscuits initially, but then it all gets spicier building into a crescendo which gives an almost horseradish like sensation in the bridge of the nose.

The after the spicy build up it fades back to a light sweet finish with a little citrus zest leaving the mouth watering. The empty glass smells much maltier as the fragrant notes evaporate, but there is still a little white pepper in the background

There was so much going on with the nose, that the palate seemed to play second fiddle in terms of complexity, but don't let that get in the way of things, this is a wonderful playful dram and I loved the spicy horseradish feel. The nose is quite exceptional though, especially when my wife loves it! With only 96 bottles available, I don't expect this piece of 'liquid history' will be around for long.

Many thanks to Abbey Whisky for considering me to taste this rare whisky. For more information visit their website:

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