Cadenheads Arran 8yo Authentic Collection December 2023 & Cadenheads Caol Ila 17yo Authentic Collection December 2023


A few new drams from the latest Cadenheads Authentic Collection to begin our week...

Cadenheads Arran 8yo Authentic Collection December 2023

Region: Highlands

ABV: 56.3%

Price: £50.00

First up is an 8 year old Arran, distilled in 2015. It spent eight years maturing in a bourbon barrel, culminating in a release of just 228 bottles.

Nose

On the nose, we finds notes reminiscent of Appletiser, sour Granny Smith apples, pear drops, and citrus in the form of lemon sherbet, complemented by a light hint of pepper spice. Giving it time to sit in the glass reveals layers of honey, orange peel, whole grain Cheerios, toasted bread, and melon. Pleasant nose and honestly we would have guessed this was a little older than 8 years.

Palate

The palate mirrors the nose in many respects, featuring lemon sherbet, orange marmalade, honey, and lemon juice – minus the sourness. There's a pleasant, warming cracked black pepper spice that lingers through a medium finish, accompanied by a persistent sweetness. The mouthfeel is nice, and the alcohol integration is very good. Much like the nose the palate doesn’t give away its age.

Nose (with water)

Reduction has subdued the green apple notes, while accentuating the pepper. It also brings forth flavours of dried roasted peanuts and almonds, alongside a not unpleasant warehouse funk. There’s also still a strong citrus note.

Palate (with water)

We are less fond of the reduced palate, as it introduces a pronounced chilli spice that carries through to the finish. The reduction has also heightened the cask influence, with the emergence of sugar syrup and marshmallow notes. The mouthfeel remains relatively unchanged, and the finish continues to be of medium length.

Conclusion

This is a really enjoyable 8yo, that’s easy drinking and that noses and tastes as a little older than its age. Definitely one of the best young bourbon casks we’ve had recently

Score: 8/10

Value

It's hard to complain about a bottle of cask strength whisky for £50. Even harder when it’s this good.


Cadenheads Caol Ila 17yo Authentic Collection December 2023

Region: Islay

ABV: 55.1%

Price: £120.00

Next up is an 17-year-old Caol Ila, distilled in 2006. It spent seventeen years maturing in a bourbon hogshead, culminating in a release of just 204 bottles.

Nose

On the nose, there are notes of cold butter and seaweed, complemented by a saline solution and light smoke, reminiscent of a distant bonfire. We’re also getting notes of cashew nuts, pine nuts, lime cordial, and Walker's chicken crisps. With time and air, we detect some mushrooms covered in dirt and scallops.

Palate

The palate is characterised by heavy tobacco and ash, complemented by lemonade, tar, white musk, bacon, and a hint of bitterness. The finish is of good length, with a lot of smoke lingering, accompanied by a touch of sweetness. It's a good dram, but the mouthfeel slightly disappoints, falling a bit short, and as we revisit, we start to find it's slightly drying.

Nose (with water)

Adding a little water reveals some warehouse funk and pistachios, along with a general increase in savouriness. Notes of oats and corn emerge, accompanied by the scent of damp clothes. While some of the smoke has faded, the nose remains pleasant.

Palate (with water)

When reduced, the whisky gains an increased bitterness and a thinner mouthfeel. Additionally, there's a rise in sweetness reminiscent of whipped cream and orange Fanta. While the smoke has somewhat diminished, it still provides a solid backbone to the dram. The finish, more or less, remains unchanged.

Conclusion

Age has refined the spirit somewhat and created an enjoyable dram, and had the mouthfeel on this been slightly better we could have pushed this to an 8. As it stands we’ll go with a 7.5.

Score: 7.5/10

Value

While not cheap we have no doubt other bottlers would have charged a fair bit more for this.

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  • 10 - Perfection. One in a million
  • 9 - Outstanding. Exceptional whisky.
  • 8 - Great. Would seek this out.
  • 7 - Good. Quality whisky.
  • 6 - Above average. Happy to have a dram.
  • 5 - Average. Drinkable whisky.
  • 4 - Below average. Passable.
  • 3 - Flawed. Noticeable negatives.
  • 2 - Defective. Significant faults.
  • 1 - Offensive. Pour it out.

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