Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Whisky Review: Cadenhead's 1842 Campbeltown Blended Malt

One of the best things about visiting a Cadenhead's shop is their living casks. These are single malts, blended malts, and rums that are maintained in a solera style. This means that whenever a cask starts to get low more spirit from new casks is added to maintain their volume. This means that the living casks are constantly evolving, so what you get one day may be different than what's in the cask weeks or months later.

This was taken from the Campbeltown blended malt cask, which likely contains a mix of Springbank, Hazelburn, Longrow, Kilkerran/Glengyle, and Glen Scotia, during my visit to Campbeltown on August 31st, 2013. It is at 54.4% without coloring or chill filtration.

Cadenhead's 1842 Campbeltown Blended Malt

Nose: rich malt overlaid with a melange of damp peat smoke, leather, oak, nutmeg, and coastal notes, grapefruit peel, green cardamom, turmeric, peanut butter. After adding a few drops of water the leather notes become stronger and more fresh, the peat becomes softer and drier, the malt turns into fresh dough.

Taste: slightly dirty malt and oak sweetness up front, shifting towards bittersweet as the oak becomes tannic, gentle peat and coal smoke come in around the middle, orange peel overtones and apple cider undertones, becoming more mossy and tannic at the back. After dilution the sweetness carries through further, the peat and oak are toned down, some floral notes are revealed around the middle.

Finish: dirty, earthy peat and malt, cardamom, lingering heat

While not a world-beater, this is a nice encapsulation of what Campbeltown has to offer. The ABV plus lack of too much oak or vanilla make me think that the casks going into this are fairly young and not too active. I also didn't get much in the way of sherry, so I'm guessing they're mostly ex-bourbon hogsheads.

These notes jibe fairly well with my memories of the CV series from Springbank, but with some additional notes that make me think there's a decent amount of Kilkerran in the mix as well. The nose is clearly the best part, showing a lot more subtly than the palate.

For a review from the Edinburgh shop's living cask, check out Whisky Rover.


  1. So how exactly do they do the living casks? Do they put in new make and wait for ≥3 years, or do they put in whisky that's already aged?

    1. Pretty sure they're adding in added whisky. The Hazelburn living cask that I'll post about tomorrow is only in the high-40% ABV range, which suggests that it had already been in the cask for a pretty decent amount of time.

  2. Cadenhead gave you a chance to taste 'em before you bought them, right?

    1. Yup. There were a loooot of samples at Cadenhead's. Even more when someone else on the tour opened up the bottle of Longrow Red they had just bought and shared it.