Glencadam is a little known distillery that is located in the eastern Highlands. It was built in the town of Brechin, which lies between Dundee and Aberdeen, in 1825 and is the last remaining distillery in what was once a thriving whisky producing area. It has a reknowned history of producing and supplying whisky to some of Scotland's biggest blending houses. Historically, Glencadam has formed an important part of top selling blends such as Ballantine's and Teacher's and today is the cornerstone of the Angus Dundee blended range of whisky.
Angus Dundee Distillers took over the distillery and reopened it in 2003. It had been closed by the previous owners in 2000, but everything was kept intact so that production could restart immediately whenever required (this is called 'mothballing'). Angus Dundee soon had Glencadam running back at full capacity (approx. 1.4 million litres per year) and built a blending centre on the part of the site in 2006.
This 15 years old is currently the only one distillery bottling of single malt whisky from Glencadam and was first released in 2005. There are a number of independent bottling releases and these are growing in number and popularity. The nose is very aromatic with lots of interesting characteristics - a heap of vanilla, oaky woodiness (think of fresh sawdust) and warm spices (cinnamon especially) mixing with a distinct nuttiness (imagine a creamy nut like an almond) and fizzy sherbet sweets (sounds odd I know, but its the nearest thing we could think of). On the palate, this is very malty with lots of sweet cereal grains present. It is medium bodied and soft with a reduced spiciness (cinnamon again) and woodiness from the nose. Other elements present themselves, notably some coconut, toffee and a citrus tang (think of lemons). It is pleasant but slightly disappointing and flat compared to the robust nose. The finish is punchy and short. There is a lot of woodiness (almost bitter and reminded me of tree resin or sap) and leaves a warm burn in your mouth and throat that is extremely drying.
This is a slightly strange one as we found ourselves wanting to like it more than we did. The reason is that the interesting, pungent and complex nose fails to convert favourably to the palate and feels flat, before teasing you with that punchy dry finish. Despite this, it is still a decent enjoyable dram but could be very good if it had a bit more going on in your mouth. Glencadam 15 years old is relatively hard to find, normally reserved for the shelves of specialist whisky retailers. A bottle is £35-40.