Set up by Martin Armstrong, Whiskybroker.co.uk is a company that was set up to source and sell casks of whisky to enthusiasts and clubs wishing to purchase larger quantities of whisky at cheaper prices per bottle. In addition they also bottle a few more mature whiskies for anyone only wanting a bottle or two.
Obviously being only a lowly individual blogger I'm more suited to purchasing from, and commenting on, the individual bottles they have for sale.
A quick scan down through the online shop will show that they have a fine range range of whiskies available. Most regions are covered with an excellent selection of ages and all bottled at very good prices. Most are bottled at natural cask strength with all having no added colour and only lightly filtration to remove large particles of wood sediment.
Last year I made my first purchases from this site, treating myself to two types of whiskies I had yet to enjoy owning, a bottle from a closed / demolished distillery and a bottle of a decent age. It is the first of these bottles that I shall be reviewing today.
First built in 1898, Caperdonich was originally known as Glen Grant #2 after being opened by the founders of Glen Grant distillery. In it's initial form it only managed to last 4 years before being closed until 1965. When re-opened it's name was changed to Caperdonich and in 1967 two steam heated pot stills were added to the distillery.
Pernod Ricard bought the distillery in 2001 before closing it in 2002 and in 2010 the distillery was demolished for good.
In it's heyday it was a component of some of the blends manufactured by Chivas Regal and in 2005 it's only official bottling was released which was a cask strength sixteen year-old.
The bottle I obtained from Whiskybroker.co.uk was, as stated, a 17 year old that was distilled on 13th May 1995 before being bottled on 14th February 2013. It is a single cask bottling that has been bottled at 55.0% ABV and the further information states that this is a third release of 220 bottles coming from hogshead number 95068.
Onto my notes:
First thing I would like to say about this whisky is that it took a good 6 months and half a bottle to allow this whisky to settle down. When first opened this was unbelievably feisty and struggled to show it's true character but it has now managed to relax itself down enough for me to get to grips with it.
Nose - When first poured this whisky coats the glass beautifully. If without an ABV you would be in doubt that this was very strong in alcohol due to the liquid being thick and syrupy. With a little time in a glass we start to get properly into the flavours. Orange, clove, coconut, wood vanilla, menthol and bags of butter dominate. There's some serious, sugary, sweetness going on, presumably from the malt, along with some mashed banana and red apple. This is a real fruity number when given time. With a good blast of water the nose becomes even more buttery with perfume and a strange zing that I can't quite put my finger on, maybe sherbet.
Palate - Chokingly hot!!! Chewing through the alcohol drys the mouth out to extreme levels but if you work with it the fruit on the nose eventually shows through. More orange and apple with hints of pear. Still very sweet and creamy but hard to pin any other flavours down due to the intense alcohol. With water the dram does become softer and in fact it can take a serious amount of water which does allow the fruitiness to take over.
Finish - Numbing with final finishes of fresh fruit.
Overall this is a great experience. In my opinion this distillery had some amazing flavours within it's spirit which appear to have been outdone, in this instance, by a bad cut of alcohol / a poor cask being used. I think the way this has been bottled is completely perfect as it allows you to see, naturally, the good and bad points of this distillery. Without doubt I'm enjoying working my way through this whisky and it's certainly not one you can taste once and drink through quickly. It takes time and patience to allow it to gradually open up along with a bit of experimentation with water to see how to best to extract all those flavours hidden deep within.
As far as my opinion of Whiskybroker.co.uk goes it is easily my favourite site to purchase whisky from due to its excellent range, style of bottling and fantastic prices. Where else would I get a 17 year old demolished distillery and a 29 year old single malt for a little over £100.
In case you all fancy getting yourselves over to pick up a special bottle or two I've included a few links to Whiskybroker.co.uk below.
Until next time,
Whiskybroker main site - http://www.whiskybroker.co.uk
Whiskybroker Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/whiskybroker.co.uk
Whiskybroker Twitter - https://twitter.com/whiskybroker