Caperdonich 23 1995 Signatory Vintage 30th Anniversary

Sorry for the ugly glass, I didn’t have my chamois with me and didn’t ask our friends for one because I hate nice photography. Also it was hot as balls and I was drinking and having fun.

People don’t have a lot of Caperdonich, mostly because it’s used mostly in blends (Chivas Regal), ran between 1898 and 1902, 1965 and 2001, then closed down and mothballed and eventually destroyed in 2010. The old “Glen Grant #2” had lasted so long, brought out only a bit of whisky, and then disappeared.

But it’s gone, so we’re left with the remains, and we’ve been here before: It could be obvious ones like Port Ellen or Rosebank, or odd, weird ones that people don’t usually have, like Glenesk or Hillside.

Ha, he says that like he’s ever reviewed a Hillside, what a poser.

Now that I’m done mocking myself in a silly way that’s meaner than I meant due to the medium, today we’re adding another rare Caperdonich to the old “reviewed” list:

Caperdonich 23 1995 Signatory Vintage 30th Anniversary is a cask strength Caperdonich picked out by Signatory and released for their 30th anniversary. Thus we have a cask strength Caperdonich from a single refill sherry hogshead that we assume to be nicer, less you hurt the anniversary wording. In other words: It’s a celebration, drink something nicer.

But how does it taste? This was meant to be blended into a Chivas Regal, after all, not meant to be drunk by its lonesome. Let’s see, shall we?

Price: €489.00

Region: Speyside

Vintage: June 13, 1995

Bottled: July 18, 2018

Cask type: Refill Sherry Hogshead

Cask number 95050

No of bottles: 265

Abv: 58.4%

Colour: 2.5Y 8/8

Nose: Red grape, burnt sugar, almond, mushroom funk, hay Fruity, light at first with some char/molasses sulfur notes, some almond, and earthy funk. Very odd. At first I’m left thinking “huh, that’s nothing special”. Then you keep coming back. This is how it begins.

This is very odd. Farmy at times, clean at others, sweet throughout but mostly just odd. I don’t mind it. Frankly I’m getting quite used to it and going back again and again, even once it’s gone.

Taste: Almond/cherry, toffee, mineral, grapefruit

Strong sherry influence with toffee, cherry/almond and some tart notes. I don’t know if that’s the norm for Caperdonich, as I’ve a) probably only ever had it from sherry casks and b) this is the youngest one I’ve ever had.

So my guy tells me the sherry has come and laid out the flavours save for the mineral and the grapefruit. I’m going to say I expected a bit more from a 23-year-old whisky, but again, the more you have, the more you want. It’s very hard to tell your own brain, which wants to drink more and more of this, that it should be more complex.

Finish: Oak, tea, brown sugar, ginger, sugar cookie

Bitter and spice cooking vibes at the end. Again, something you drink at first, you react the same way most people react to their first coffee or tea, and then like coffee or tea, you keep drinking it, because you’re hooked.

And the nice butter flavour? It’s very nice and adds a warming flavour to round out the rest of the dram.

Conclusion: Toffee forward spice cookie that grows on you. This is one of those whiskies that you want a full bottle instead of a sample, as you aren’t blown away at first, and then you really start enjoying it and the glass is empty.

So what does a score mean here? It means I didn’t drop the oodles of Euros required to get a bottle? Maybe it means that I can like something while pointing out the taste doesn’t quite land it? Maybe I just really like early 20s Caperdonich.

I think if you bought a bottle of this or if you saw it at a bar, you should be happy, given the good quality and uniqueness of the nose and the finish, assuming you don’t hate some of the notes. Try a sample of this if you get a chance, I’m certainly happy I did.


Scotch review #1587, Speyside review #454, Whisky Network review #2313

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