We're taking a look at two bottles from Cadenheads Spring Authentic Collection 2023.
Cadenheads Kilkerran 7yo Spring Authentic Collection 2023
This heavily peated Kilkerran was distilled 2015, and matured in a bourbon barrel for 7 years. 252 bottles were released.
Ashy peat greets us straight off the bat, a little chlorine, charcoal, cigarette ash, sea air and warm toffee sauce. With some air, we're finding a citrus note appearing, waxy lemon, ritz crackers and an old wardrobe-like dustiness comes through too. The alcohol is well balanced here, you can get your nose deep into the glass without any issue.
Sweetness appears on the initial palate, creamy vanilla, custard apples, and rides through to the finish. There's also the unmistakable peatsmoke that takes more of a background role to the sweeter bourbon cask influence. There's a fair bit of pepperiness, white pepper mainly, that tingles the tongue and lasts through to the decent length finish. There's also a bit of fresh green apple and toasted grains that appear after some time and air.
Nose (with water)
We're finding more cask influence on the nose now, sweeter vanilla and whipping cream aromas are starting to show, but the ashy peat smoke is still very much present. There's a sawn-wood aroma too, wheatgrass and flaked almonds.
Palate (with water)
The reduced palate feels slightly thinner, less oily, but mellows some of the peppery heat and brings the smoke, sweetness and oakiness into a nice balance. We're finding lime zest, candied ginger and burnt twigs too.
A perfectly pleasant Kilkerran that delivers what it promises on the label. The nose is mainly dominated by ashy smoke, however the palate brings forward lots of sweet bourbon cask flavours with the peat playing a supporting role. It's not super complex, but it's great quality whisky that you don't need to think too much about.
Cadenheads Balmenach 10yo Spring Authentic Collection 2023
Distilled 2013 and initially matured in a bourbon cask this release was transferred into a PX Hogshead September 2020 for a finish period before bottling in 2023. 276 bottles were released.
We're met with sweet port wine initially, a young vintage port-like sweetness with juicy red fruits and treacle appearing after a little while. There's a maltiness to the dram, alongside a slight yeast aroma, like instant yeast after it's just been woken up with warm water. Time and air reveals slightly richer aromas of dates, caramel shortcake, white pepper spice and a little bit of orange marmalade in the background too.
The palate begins warm, with a kick of chili chocolate, although it quickly mellows into a nuttier flavour with roasted hazelnuts and pecan pie. The mouthfeel is really good on it, impressively oily and full bodied. We're also finding some cinnamon, ground ginger and sultanas. It's not overly sweet, the initial part of the palate has a fair whack of sugar, but as it develops on your tongue, the deeper, drier and richer flavours come through. The finish has a good length, with mint chocolate and a hint of cherry liqueur too.
Nose (with water)
We're getting some richer aromas appearing, as opposed to the sweeter, fruitier ones from before. Dark chocolate, walnuts, cherry cola, bruised mint leaves and maybe even some sweet and sticky Chinese BBQ ribs make an appearance.
Palate (with water)
The mouthfeel is retained, but the palate gets a touch too bitter for us, with high percentage cocoa, spent coffee grounds, brazil nuts and toasted oak. It's definitely drier, and a lot of that sweetness that balanced out the dram before has all but disappeared. We'd caution adding water to this, however some may prefer the drier style.
Not bad, not bad at all. We quite enjoyed both the nose and the palate, there's lots to like in this dram. We do feel that there's a little bit of a battle between the PX cask and the initial bourbon maturation where it feels a touch disjointed. It's also a touch hot on the initial palate, but we're probably being overly harsh to what is a good quality whisky at a pretty great price. We'll go with 7.5/10.
- 10 - Perfection. A whisky that we’ll remember forever.
- 9 - Amazing. We’d pay through the nose for a bottle.
- 8 - Great. Pick this up at RRP.
- 7 - Good. Happy to have a dram or two but wouldn’t buy a bottle.
- 6 - Passable. Would accept a dram, but wouldn’t seek it out.
- 5 - Poor. Would drink if it was the only option.
- 4 - Bad. Maybe it can be saved by ginger beer?
- 3 - Awful. It can't be saved by ginger beer.
- 2 - Pour it out
- 1 - We’ve never tried a whisky rated this low and hopefully never will.