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Edradour distillery stands on the outskirts of Pitlochry in Highland Perthshire, close to the geographical centre of Scotland. Although the distillery itself dates from 1837, its founder Duncan Forbes was distilling at an alternative site as early as 1825.
With its name taken from the Gaelic Eadar Dhà Dhobhar, meaning ‘between two rivers’, Edradour was known for many years as the smallest of Scotland’s distilleries. It has since lost that title to Strathearn. Now owned, since 2002, by independet bottler, Signatory Vintage, the distillery produces a range of exciting malts, with sherry and wine casks used regularly for finishing and part of the year spent producing a heavily peated version known as ‘Ballechin’.
Whisky and music gang thegither…
Perhaps one of the most well known of Edradour whiskies, is one named after a smash hit song. When Dougie MacLean wrote ‘Caledonia’ in a beach in Brittany back in 1977 he could scarcely have imagined that it would one day lead to his name featuring on the label of a fine single malt whisky.
“I was in my early 20s and had been busking around with some Irish guys. I was genuinely homesick. I’d always lived in Perthshire. I played it to the guys when I got back to the youth hostel where we were staying and that was the final straw – we all went home the next day.”
Today, some 40 years after its release, the song has become part of Scottish culture, even something of an unofficial national anthem. Fitting then, that it should be further immortalised as a single malt whisky. Originally selected by MacLean himself, the current expression begins life in bourbon casks before a secondary maturation in Oloroso casks of 4 to 5 years prior to bottling at £46% abv.
“For me, the location of Edradour, with its neat cluster of whitewashed buildings, traditional equipment and employment of ancient methods of making single malt whisky, combined with its state of the art bottling facility, typify Caledonia.”
Smell: Dried Fruits, Salted Caramel, Heather Honey, Fragrant Orange and Milk Chocolate.
Taste: Slightly Nutty with Toffee, Raisins and Sultana’s and light, spicy Oak.
Thoughts: Edradour is an interesting malt. In some ways it is typical of the central Highlands character with lots of honey and floral notes but it also has the body to stand up to sherry maturation. It takes on the sherry character well without losing itself.
Caledonia seems to get the balance pretty much spot on, for me. The sherry is robust, even dominant, but the whisky isn’t one-dimensional. You get a good age statement, higher bottling strength and good depth of flavour for £50. There’s not a lot to complain about there.
*If the whisky reviewed in this article has caught your eye, you can buy it from Master of Malt here. Please be aware that as an affiliate I can be paid a small commission on any purchases you make after following links from my page. The whisky is also available from several other excellent retailers.