Which one would you choose?

To compliment the rise of full on sherry bomb releases – which we love by the way – we are starting our mini series of 6 testaments to wonderful whiskies that sometimes get overlooked due to the colour, or lack of colour in the liquid.

Whisky, like everything in life, goes through cycles. We’ve seen the rise of single malts, the cask strength and single cask come through and the exploration of terriore becoming more prominent.

We have reached the start of the a new trend. Never before has there been so much attention on the coca-cola coloured “sherry-bomb”.

Whiskies bought on colour alone. On that rich, dark tones oozing promises of a sherry flavour overload.

Don’t get me wrong, these guys often do taste fabulous. But at what cost? It seems that for every one sherry bomb in a series, there are seven or so overlooked. Passed by due to a lack of pizzazz on the striking colour front.

Alistair Walker’s Infrequent Flyers and Adelphi’s batch releases are two such releases that offer so much fantastic whiskies. Always the first to be hunted down, snapped up on presale or have queues at the door on release day, are the sherry monsters. Linkwood, Glen Spey, Glenrothes, the distillery itself doesn’t matter. The reputation of the bottlers almost a sidenote in the clamour to get these releases into the basket.

Fantastic whiskies for sure, however perhaps not the full-on sherry monsters as we might think. Just as an example, The Infrequent Flyers Glenrothes was a 10-month finish in a PX cask after ageing just over 12 years in ex-bourbon. There is no fault here, neither in technique or in taste, I have simply used this example as Alistair is a bottler with no secrets. Ask what is going on with the casks and he is open and honest, as most bottlers are.

The recent social media outcry about Single Cask whiskies that have not spent their entire lives in a solitary cask brought new questions to the industry. Openness and honesty were decried and previous heroic releases looked at with suspicion. 

Of course, the art of decanting batches of casks into new barrels is nothing new. Perhaps the term Single Cask can be misleading, but the truth is the bottle run released do come from that final single cask. In the world of information overload the make up and history of the cask can probably be discovered by asking the right people the right questions. In the end though, if the final flavour is awesome, who cares?

But I digress. I am here to hail the yellow, the golden and the not so dark mahogany whiskies on our shelves. The underdog whiskies that pack a great flavour without selling themselves on colour alone.

First up is perhaps a surprising little number given our focus on Single Cask, cask strength releases. It is a stunning, drinkable dram for a great price and one that sits comfortably amongst the GlenDronachs of the world.

It is the Glencadam Reserva Andalusia. A recent release by the Angus and Dundee Distillers group.. Finished in Oloroso butts, it has everything you would need from a great sherried whisky and perhaps a little more.

Giving his first review for us at the Inverurie Whisky Shop is Russell Brinklow, who joined us on a part time basis at the end of 2019. Given the recent situation we haven’t been able to get Russell back onto the shop floor quite so often as we would like, however I am delighted to have him on board and I’m sure you will see him in the shop, giving his infectious, kid-in-a-sweetie-shop, passionate advice.

Glencadam Reserva Andalucia

A non age statement release from an underrated distillery. Glencadam Reserva Andalucia has been matured in sherry and bourbon casks before being married together and re-racked into first fill Oloroso Butts for the finishing months. This is a light elegant sherried whisky without being a “sherry bomb”. It is non chill filtered with no added colour.

The colour is as golden as the barley at the start of the journey, unlike many sherried whisky’s you will see but in keeping with the straw like colour of whisky from this wonderful distillery.

Glencadam is situated within the ancient city and Royal Burgh of Brechin. At one time eight distilleries operated in the area between Aberdeen and Dundee, with only Glencadam and Fettercairn surviving. They have since been joined by Arbikie as whisky continues its resurgence in popularity and growth.

Current owners Angus Dundee Ltd bought the distillery in 2003 and also own Tomintoul, both under the expert guidance of master blender Robert Fleming. They operate a blending plant and offer bespoke blends. But it is the single malt that holds my attention and since my first taste of the “Reawakening” 13yr old I have been a huge fan. It has been described as “underrated, overlooked and a hidden gem” by experts in the industry, and gets very good reviews and ratings by others.

Were it not for the current pandemic circumstance the distillery would have had a visitor centre open, this is still planned and will be well worth a visit once life returns to what we know as normal.

The light floral and malty tones bring out the baked pineapple distillery style along with ripe summer fruits and vanilla creaminess. Its clear to see why it would be included in Cream of the Barley blends.

This bottling was created to display the relationship with the bodegas in Andalucia, the famous sherry region of Spain centred around the ancient of Jerez.

Along with the wonderful light malty flavour and distillery style, the sherry maturation and oloroso finish add sultanas, brown sugar and toffee apple. The sweetness is delicious with subtle hints of homemade tablet, hand picked apples and pears and that wonderful lingering nose of freshly harvested barley.

I imagine drinking this in the garden on an early autumn afternoon, enjoying the warm glow of an Indian summer, while listening to the distant roar of a combine harvester gathering the first ingredients for future contents of my glass.

One final note….I think the branding is simplistic beauty with clear bold print and wonderful colours along the range.

Familiarise yourself with this distillery, you wont be disappointed. Another extraordinary product in our range.