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Glencadam distillery was founded in the historic city of Brechin in 1825, just over a year after the passing of the famous excise act of 1823. The brainchild of one George Cooper, Glencadam was constructed just 200 yards from the North Port distillery, yet whilst North Port was closed in 1983, Glencadam has flourished in recent years under new ownership and is beginning to earn a reputation for it’s single malt, after decades as a producer of blend fodder.
George Cooper sold his new distillery after just 3 years, beginning a succession of different owners which eventually culminated in the site’s purchase in 1891 by Glasgow based blender Gilmour Thompson & Co.
Gilmour Thompson remained in charge for over 50 years, overseeing two periods of closure thanks to the wartime rationing of both fuel and grain stocks. During the conflict, distillery warehousing was used as barracks for the troops and the site of the regimental commissary can still be seen in the grass outside No. 2 warehouse today.
Glencadam resumed production shortly after the dawn of peace and in 1954, the business was purchased by Hiram Walker of Canada. When Hiram Walker was later absorbed by Allied Domecq however, the new owners decided that Glencadam had no place in their plans and put the distillery in mothballs. The site would remain silent for just a few short years before Angus Dundee Distillers, industry veterans of some 60 years, acquired it and breathed new life into the neglected pot stills.
Angus Dundee completed the purchase in 2003 and resumed production immediately. By 2005, the Glencadam had been launched onto the single malt market as a standalone 15 year old expression. This was later joined in 2009 by a 10 year old and the range has since grown to include 13, 18, 21 and 25 year old versions, as well as the occasional single cask release and travel retail exclusives.
The 10 year old is bottled at an impressively high 46% abv, without the use of chill filtering. It retails in the UK for around £35 a bottle.
Smell: Fresh Fruit, White Wine, Straw, Biscuit & Vanilla.
Taste: Malt, some light Spice, Vanilla Fudge, Green Fruits and a touch of Oak.
Value for Money: Exceptionally good value. A subtle flavour profile is boosted by that 46% bottling strength, adding a depth of character and roundness of flavour which would likely have been lost at a lower abv.
Scotch whisky of such soft highland nature can sometimes seem a little lightweight for this reviewer, but thanks to that higher bottling strength, favoured here by owners Angus Dundee, coupled with their decision to avoid the chill filtering process, Glencadam delivers a far more satisfying mouthfeel than many of it’s contemporaries, yet remains in a comparable price bracket.
A lesser known dram that rewards the buyer with a surprisingly pleasant experience. Recommended.
*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.