The story of the Glencadam distillery is an interesting one, with its origins going back to 1825. As with many Scotch distilleries, the site has been opened and closed several times, and has seen its ownership change hands several times, with groups and independent businesses along the way. The site was converted into army barracks for both world wars, and is the (currrently) only distillery in the county of Angus, in the Highlands. Finding its feet in recent years with Angus Dundee, the distillery has often contributed towards blended whiskies, but launched its flagship “rather dignified” 15 year old single malt in 2003 under its new ownership, and then saw a complete rebrand in 2009, accompanied by the launch of this 10 year old single malt, to much praise. As with all core range Glencadam single malts, the 10 year old is bottled at 46% ABV, non-chill filtered and at natural colour. Still opting for a more traditional packaging style, this release comes with the moniker, “the rather delicate”. Lets see how delicate it is…
Well, it is very delicate. It has a very light and tingly nose, that reminds me immediately of really fine, powdery sugary sweets: floral sherbet and parma violets. The vapours are quite perfume-like really, as they shoot straight up the nostrils – though we are still on the ‘delicate’ briefing here – its not exactly like walking past a Lush shop! In fact, with the floral note, the smell reminds me of a little gift shop that I visited in the Highlands which sold heather scented candles. [A very specific tasting note there]. There’s a nice light malty backbone underneath it all too, just like the powdered grist from the malting house.
There’s a welcome heat from the 46% ABV here but it is still all lightness and sweetness at play. The leading flavour that springs to my mind is that of pear drop sweets, but it is supported by a nice little bit of malt, a little bit of vanilla, a little bit of citrus, a little bit of sherbet (again) [another very specific tasting note: the raspberry side of the Double Dip sherbet packs!]. The body seems to have a nice little creaminess to it too from that vanilla flavour.
It is a single malt after all, so there is nice little oaky fire and spice to the finale of its profile but it’s sweetness and gentle boozy tingles all the way. In fact the gentle malt-meets-sherbet tingle does stay around for a little time too, making it a light, lingering and satisfying finish.
The marketing team weren’t wrong when they lead with “the rather delicate” as their supporting tagline to the 10 year old’s packaging. Even the colour of the whisky is light and faint. This whisky is soooo quick and easy to drink. It could make for a serious session whisky, but just has enough about it to keep it as a simple sipper in its own right. Everything about it seems to just taste clean and pure. Pure and simple. A simple single malt, done well. Maybe even too simple for a gateway malt, because this could definitely work as an introductory whisky to get the uninitiated onboard to good malts. If it wasn’t for that very grist-like flavour note it would almost taste like a single grain whisky with its floral simplicity. It has almost reset the bar for me, for what a good light whisky can be like. If tasted blind, it would put me in mind of a Glen Grant 10 with a drop of water. The 70cl bottle also comes at a very fair price at £34 for a 10yo single malt scotch whisky. In summary: rather delicate = rather delicious.