Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Whisky Review: Pearls of Scotland Cambus 26 Year 1988/2015

Cambus was a grain distillery opened in 1836 that operated for more than a century until it was closed by UDV in 1993 as part of the broader program of consolidation that was taking place. While much of the site is still in use for filling and as bonded warehouse space, there is no indication that distilling will ever take place there again.

This was distilled in September 1988, filled into an ex-bourbon hogshead (judging by the number of bottles), and bottled at 47.8% without coloring or chill filtration.

Pearls of Scotland Cambus 26 Year 1988/2015 Cask #59232

Nose: bog standard grain whisky - wheat, caramel, a little vanilla, very light fruit/citrus. After adding a few drops of water the aromas become even more muted.

Taste: sweet grain up front, bubblegum, berry, and citrus peel overtones in the middle, creamy vanilla, becoming drier towards the back, where it takes on a slightly artificial (aspartame?) cast. After dilution the initial flavors are brighter and the fruit notes expand, the artificial notes come in around the middle, and grain becomes more prominent near the back.

Finish: slightly off/bitter grain notes, solvent/plastic, vanillin (rather than vanilla)

While I didn't find this as bad of an experience as my tasting notes would suggest, there's also nothing to recommend this whisky. I'm not getting anything out of it that you can't find in much younger and cheaper grain whiskies. While I think it could effectively fit into some homemade blends, the price is prohibitive for that purpose. Really, there's no reason to buy more than a sample for the sake of curiosity. The Whiskybroker Strathclyde that I sampled a while back had most of the good qualities and few of the defects of this Cambus, at the same or lower price.

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