Cadenheads have released a new range of whiskies to compliment their Original Collection. These "Enigma" whiskies are unusual, hard to quantify or perhaps even slightly contradictory (their own words!). All they say is that they're good.. so we're looking forward to finding out if that's true.
Cadenheads Enigma Blended Whisky 25yo
There's not much information about this 25 year old blend, except that it was matured fully in refill sherry butts. There's no mention of how many bottles were made available.
The nose opens with marzipan, a lovely nuttiness from almonds, a little sweet vermouth, slightly over-baked blondies and cinnamon spice. There’s a little old dusty furniture aroma appearing too as we get deeper into the glass. The alcohol is well balanced, its detectable in a light, white pepper spice way. Going back and we’re finding caramelised white chocolate, pencil shavings, and a little dark chocolate towards the latter part of the nose.
The palate opens with a fizzy, sherbet like quality, moving quickly into richer chocolate and hazelnut flavours. There’s also fudge, caramel sauce and a bit of dunnage earth appearing as it develops on your tongue. Going back for another sip, we’re getting a burst of raspberry jam, zingy lemon juice, cinnamon spice and some dark chocolate coated raisins too. It’s one of those drams that morphs from flavour to flavour as it sits in your mouth. The mouthfeel is a touch disappointing, it feels quite thin and insipid, and it’s perhaps a touch too dry on the latter parts of the medium length finish.
Nose (with water)
The reduced nose brings out a meatier sherry influence, a little bit of roast pork, moving into sultanas, cloves and charred oak. Lots of chocolate, cinnamon and nutmeg appearing too. Much more sherry than before, some will really appreciate that.
Palate (with water)
The reduced palate becomes a fair bit drier, charred oak from the reduced nose, burnt caramel, dark chocolate too. Nutty oloroso flavours, rum and raisin ice cream, malt loaf, with stroopwaffles leading into the finish. The mouthfeel and finish remain largely the same, but we were careful to only add the smallest dash of water as it’s already quite low ABV.
Quite a pleasant blend, with a lovely well balanced nose, but for us it’s a bit of a letdown on the palate. That’s not to say it’s unpleasant, we just wanted a bit more oomph. There’s a range of flavours that appear, making it quite an enjoyable dram and we could go through a fair few in an evening.
25 years in sherry at this price is cracking value.
Cadenheads Enigma Campbeltown Blended Malt 15yo
This release is a blend of 15 year old Hazelburn and 16 year old Kilkerran, both spirits having been matured in ex-bourbon casks. There's no mention of how many bottles were made available.
We’re met with preserved lemon, a prominent salinity, moving into fresh peaches, the flesh of a red apple, and lemon scented candles. There’s also dustings of icing sugar, tinned pineapple juice, pear drops and a mixture of boiled sweeties. It’s incredibly sweet, fruity and mellow, with the alcohol in great balance, we’d have this down at 43% if we had to hazard a guess. We’re also finding some buttercream frosted cupcakes as we let the dram develop in the glass.
The palate opens up with salted crackers, lemon peel, vanilla ice cream, warm caramel sauce, and something slightly earthy as the palate develops. There’s also some toffee and milk chocolate coming through. It has quite a pleasant mouthfeel, a good texture, with a good length finish, digestive biscuits, orangeade, and shortbread fingers. Going back after some time and air, and we’re getting synthetic pear juice, warm oak spice and a little bit of honey too.
Nose (with water)
The reduced nose brings out that dunnage warehouse funkiness that we came to expect, along with Battenberg cake, honey butter, and some fresh mango. There’s still a saltiness here, reminding us of the crisp sea air at Campbeltown Harbour.
Palate (with water)
The reduced palate brings candy corn, buttercream frosting, lemon zest mixed in with icing sugar, moving into warm French pastries. There’s also hints of salted caramel and a tingling of white pepper spice on the finish. The mouthfeel has taken a little bit of a hit, so beware when diluting the dram - we prefer it without water.
Well this is quite lovely. It’s a super easy drinker, but if you dig deeper there are some interesting and complex flavours and aromas to be found. The nose is bursting with fruits, whereas the palate brings more of the bourbon cask vanilla and caramel flavours. An experiment gone right, we’re glad we reserved a bottle.
Good value for a 15yo Campbeltown malt at this strength.
- 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.