Glencadam 21 The Exceptional

I went out to a Bar to finally have a Ladyburn. And when I showed up, the Ladyburn bottle they had was empty.

So I ordered an Older 34-year-old Tamdhu dusty. You can guess how that went. I was about to order a 1971 Clynelish, but felt pretty defeated, as this is the second time I planned to have some high end whiskies and wasn’t able to. So I ordered Glencadam 21 The Exceptional.

Why? Because before this I’ve only had one Glencadam, and I guessed this would be in stock. It was bought from our local alcohol-hating alcohol monopoly, so it was much too expensive, but whatever. I had a good burger with it, and enjoyed a nice day out.

So what is Glencadam 21 The Exception? This original bottling (OB) is right from the distillery. It’s not the oldest or highest prestige release: That’s the 25-year-old, and some would argue that the Single Cask releases can be older, higher abv., and thus are more sought after. But we’re not here to pit them against one another.

The website states they haven’t changed the malt since the 19th century, doesn’t go into details on the casks used, and mentioned the awards. But we all know those awards are like penny candy to a kid with a $20 bill (multiple and easily bought).

So how does this taste? Let’s see, shall we?

Price: €140

Region: Highland

Bottled: 2016

Abv: 46%

Colour: 7.5Y 9/10

Nose: Oak, vanilla, nectarine, violets,

Lighter nose. Takes some time to open up, so give it a bit more rest than you normally do. I actually decided to have my meal, have a few glasses of water, pondered the current collapse, toasted it as I’m not rich and influential enough to stop it, and then started on it.

Luckily there was a very funny drag performer loudly talking to their friend, so I had someone to listen to as I waited. Good oak, stone fruit, and eventually there was a good floral note.

Taste: Cinnamon, butter, green apple, ginger,

Ok, now we’re waking up. Good amount of spice, some fat, some tartness to balance it, and some even heat throughout. It’s something I’ve been noticing in a lot of Speysides these days, and I feel it’s the niche distillers are aiming for.

And who doesn’t like spices and butter? Wasn’t that literally the reason Britain took over the world? Other than to sate their neverending bloodlust, of course.

Finish: Cinnamon, apple, walnut, oak, light grapefruit

Spice really is the dominant aspect here. The finish is less fruity tartness, more nutty/oak bitter notes, but the tart is still there. I can see why they vatted it that way, as it works to finish it all up.

Conclusion: Alright. Spice bomb. I’m not angry about it. I feel it’s up there with some 18-year-old, more well-known distilleries, and could easily fill in for higher-end Speysides to pour.

Actually I feel this is perfect if you know someone who drinks the same Speyside all the time. Like if they love Glenfiddich 12, you’d get them this and it would sit on their shelf as a good upgrade. The distillery could have amped it up with a finish or other things, but didn’t. It’s kinda samey to other Speysides, but that’s not a bad thing.

If you’re a whisky nerd, do you need to have this? Depends on how you feel about Speysides. I think it’s a good enough pour, and in my case was a third runner up after everything else was out. I’m sad I couldn’t get the others, but I was content with it at the end of the day. So if you’re in the same spot, consider it.


Scotch review #1550, Highland review #262, Whisky Network review #2271

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