Welcome to a very exciting addition to our Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar story. Firstly we have the pleasure of having Jason Johnstone-Yellin from Single Cask Nation sitting here with me tasting this dram and secondly we were able to secure our first ever closed distillery cask from Alex Bruce and the fabulous team at Adelphi.
Cambus is a Lowlands Grain distillery that opened in 1836 and was unfortunately closed in 1993. Anything bottled from Cambus now is always going to be over the 20 year old mark which is a bit of a benchmark for us so far in adding Single Grain offerings to our calendar editions. During its time in operation it was considered by many to be the finest grain whisky in all of Scotland. Located near Stirling in what some called “the midlands” it was just below the Highland/Lowland dividing line. Owned by the Diageo group it was deemed to be surplus to requirements as is so often the major factor in a distilleries closure.
So lets get into the whisky
Adelphi Independent Bottlers – Cambus 1988 – 27 year old Single Grain Scotch Whisky at the cask strength of 48% cask number 59353 and aged in a Bourbon Refill cask.
Colour: Pale gold which is a definite result of the refill Bourbon cask not really imparting that much colour at all.
Nose: Sweet Marzipan icing like wandering past the head table at a wedding after the cake has been sliced. Fresh farm cream like the kind that my nana used to serve over her famous apricot pie which was a staple in my youth complete with the apricot pie note. The marzipan almond piece really kicks in and some other nutty characters emerge including what I would call white chocolate covered macadamia’s. Wow lovely start to this whisky.
Palate: Savory note here that takes a bit of a diversion from the nose by adding in some fresh rolling in the hay action (in the best way possible)
Finish: Some earthy char coming into play here with a bit of a brand new tire note. Seriously like when you just pick up a brand new set of tires and that sweet clean rubber jumps out at you and lets you know that you have something bright and shiny in your possession.
Wow this kind of feels like I was just given a new car at my wedding and am driving away with that new rubber meets marzipan package all in one. This is an amazing experience and I have never had a Single Grain with this many layers before. Right at the death when everything is almost fading away the apricot comes back once more complete with that delicious pie crust.
Super cool stuff and thanks so much to Alex at Adelphi for agreeing to part with it just for us. There may be a few bottles that were filled once we had taken our share but not many and probably only to be found in Scotland so good luck hunting one down.
So here below are the extremely enlightened and expert tasting notes from Jason Johnstone-Yellin.
Nose: Cereal notes lead the way with dehydrated pineapple and mango behind, there’s a heavy sweetness while the wood rests quietly behind (but still present) – after a bit of time a chili heat comes through.
Palate: Woody with wet barley to the front of the palate with a pleasant oiliness, a flavor like sandalwood runs across the center of the palate before the dehydrated tropical fruit from the nose manifests itself towards the back of the palate.
Finish: Good length with warming ginger and lingering hints of the tropical fruit.
Overall: One of my favorite things about Cambus whisky is the weight of it. Combined with that it bypasses the vanilla notes of a grain distillery like Invergordon and instead embraces heavy fruit and mature oak notes. This is a really cracking cask.
So there you have it the first closed distillery done and dusted (literally). Head on over to Whiskylassie to see her take on this Cambus.
On this day in the 2nd edition we had a fantastic Island Tobermory (non peated) from Malt Whisky Company that you can catch up on again here.
Tomorrow as the big hitting week continues we head back to those crazy Italians for something old and peaty.
See you then whisky peeps
Jonathan – taster of secrets