Glencadam Aged 13 Years and Reserva Andalucia

Glencadam Distillery, part of the Angus Dundee Distillers family, is quickly becoming a favourite at the Water of Life. We first encountered the distillery during a vertical tasting in October. Given that I usually get most excited by innovative distillers, I was a little surprised by how much I enjoyed these offerings from Glencadam, which is about as traditional a distillery as you will find. There is a good reason for the obsession with tradition across the industry: the results can be fantastic when the basics are done very well.

Since then, the Angus Dundee team offered us a chance to try two more of their products, so naturally, we jumped at the opportunity. This time, we would be trying their Aged 13 Years, also dubbed “the re-awakening”, and their Reserva Andalucia, described as “Glencadam with a sherry influence”.

Glencadam Aged 13 Years Batch 3

Highland Single Malt Whisky.

46%, matured in ex-bourbon casks.

Non-chill-filtered; no artificial colouring.

£47 (Master of Malt)

Nose: A delightful blend of sweet, fruity, and slightly salty, with golden syrup, lime, chocolate, pear drops, salt crackers, fresh hay, and liquorice.

Palate: Vanilla, apple juice, custard creams, a hint of bitter cocoa, rye bread, sugared almonds. The texture is thick and oily, and there’s quite a peppery alcoholic kick.

Finish: Quite a full finish that fully coats the mouth, with bitter rye, vanilla, and golden syrup staying centre stage.

Opinion: This whisky is sweet and intricate. The finish for me is the star of the show: it’s full, long, and flavoursome. There is definitely a balance between the sweet and bitter flavours on the palate, but I found it was ever so slightly too far in favour of bitter notes for me, although I know some others will enjoy this whisky more because of that.

The sample tasted was from Batch 3, and Batch 4 is due to be released soon. Iain Forteath of Angus Dundee Distillers tells us that this will be even more custard creamy than the current release, which should adjust the sweet-bitter balance slightly further towards sweet; I am keen to revisit the Aged 13 Years to find out if this is the case.

Ultimately, this isn’t the Glencadam I would use to introduce someone to the brand, but only because the Aged 10 Years is good and well priced. This is worth investigating for those who have already tried a couple of Glencadams. At £47, I would buy the Aged 13 Years if I saw it, but the price bracket is just slightly too high for me to actively seek it out and for it to score better.

6/10

Glencadam Reserva Andalucia

Highland Single Malt Whisky.

46%, matured in a mixture of ex-bourbon and sherry casks, finished in an Andalucian Oloroso sherry cask.

Non-chill-filtered; no artificial colouring.

£38 (Master of Malt)

Nose: The East Highland tropical fruit character is there but joined by sherry notes. There’s banana, pineapple, dried coconut, and mango, then also sultanas, pear drops, barley sugar sweets, and a slight “rummy” note.

Palate: The whisky is like cranachan in the mouth: delightfully creamy and oaty. As well as oats and raspberries, there’s apple, grapefruit, pear, rum and raisin, and chocolate digestives.

Finish: There is a medium finish of apple, pear, and just a little pepper.

Opinion: The Reserva Andalucia is beautifully structured: complex but balanced. There’s a huge amount to explore in both the nose and palate. These do leave the expectation of a much fuller finish, which isn’t quite met: instead, the finish is merely good rather than excellent, long, or lingering. That’s just about the only complaint I have with what is otherwise a great dram.

Intended as an entry-level sherried Glencadam: Iain Forteath describes this as “Glencadam with a sherry influence”, which is apt: the sherry notes don’t overpower the traditional “East Highland” character. This may be sherried, but it is still unmistakably a Glencadam.

I really enjoyed this whisky. It’s worth going out of your way for.

7/10

Glencadam is becoming a bit of a favourite at the Water of Life. We like how the distillery uses a traditional approach to create a high-quality product, reminding us that it’s not just the cutting edge innovators in the industry that are worth keeping an eye on. The Reserva Andalucia, in particular, is a great example of a distillery demonstrating the range of flavours it can achieve while still maintaining its core character.

Disclosure: The samples and virtual tasting experience that informed this article were provided to the Water of Life team by Angus Dundee Distillers free of charge. Angus Dundee Distillers have not had any other input into this article, nor has the Water of Life team relinquished any editorial control.

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