Welcome to the Kensington Wine Market 2017 Whisky Advent Calendar!
For the 4h straight year we have curated and assembled our own bespoke Whisky Advent Calendar. We hope you will follow our journey of whisky discovery over the next 25 days. Each and every day of Advent we will describe the whisky in question and publish our own tasting note for the day in question’s whisky. We will also give you a background on the distillery and producer. You can follow along each day on the Kensington Wine Market Blog: https://www.kensingtonwinemarket.com/blog/ , Twitter: https://twitter.com/kensingtonwm , Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kensingtonwm/ and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kensingtonwinemarket/ . We encourage comments and feedback.
We are very proud of both the contents, and the look of our 2017 Calendar. For that we would like to thank Alumnist Jean-Paul Berube, who has created the artwork on all four annual editions. We also have Kensington Wine Market 2017 Whisky Advent Tree, which you’ll be seeing a lot of over the next month!
I hope you enjoy the Kensington Wine Market 2017 Whisky Advent Calendar, 25 Days of Dram Fine Whisky!
Day 1 – Cadenhead Dailuaine 2004 KWM Cask
We are starting off the Kensington Wine Market 2017 Whisky Advent Calendar with our first ever exclusive single cask of Dailuaine, and just our second ever cask from independent bottler Cadenhead. We have been working with Cadenhead for a number of years now as their principal retailer in Canada. Over that time we have been blown away not just by the quality of their whiskies, but also their value. Cadenhead offers some of the best value single malts Scotch whiskies, blends and blended malts. We also love the quirky nature of their firm and the colourful cast of characters who work for them.
Founded in 1842 WM Cadenhead is Scotland’s oldest independent bottler. An independent bottler is a firm that bottles whiskies from a range of distilleries under its own label. The business that would come to be known as William Cadenhead (today known as Cadenhead’s) was founded in 1842 at 47 Netherkirkgate in Aberdeen, from which it would trade for the next 130 years. The “vinter and distilling agency” was founded by George Duncan who brought his brother in law William Cadenhead into the business 10 years later. When Duncan passed suddenly in 1858 Cadenhead took over the business and promptly changed its name. Cadenhead was considered a good businessman, community builder and poet.
In 1904 Cadenhead passed, turning the business over to Robert Duthie. Under Duthie the business turned its focus more toward independent bottlings. He also had a penchant for producing vatted malts, what we would today call Blended Malts. Duthie’s most notable brands were the Heilanman and a more premium offering Putachieside. He was also an innovative marketer, promoting his business on busses, theater curtains and concert programs.
Duthie was killed by a tram on the way to the bank in 1931, and the business was turned over to his sisters. They in turn appointed Ann Oliver a long term employee to manage affairs. She was set in her ways and refused to change with the times. When the business and its assets were put up for sale in 1972 at Christie’s, the stockpiles of whisky and gin not only wiped out all the firms debts, but they left the owners with a fortune in cash. J.A. Mitchell & Co., the owners of Springbank Distillery in Scotland purchased the business and moved it to Campbeltown. About as far away as it would have been possible to move the firm while still keeping it in Scotland.
Cadenhead is one of the best stocked independent bottlers in Scotland. Most of their whiskies are sold through the firm’s shops in Campbeltown, Edinburgh and London as well as franchisees in Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Denmark. A few years ago the firm realized it had so much whisky on its ledgers, that’s its own network of shops was not sufficient to sell it all. So the Small Batch line was created so that specialist whisky retailers around the world, like Kensington Wine Market, could also sell the whisky.
The Cadenhead whisky in question today is from the Dailuaine Distillery. Founded in 1852 the distillery is located in the Speyside, not far from the picturesque Charlestown of Aberlour. Dailuaine has suffered two major fires in its history, one in 1917 which destroyed its pagoda roofs, and another which severely damaged the buildings in 1959. Both fires lead to major refurbishments and upgrades, which may have in turn saved the distillery from closure later in the 20th century after the whisky bubble of the 1970s burst. There have only been a few official bottlings of Dailuaine over the years, but the whisky does appear from time to time in the hands of independent bottlers, like Cadenhead.
Cadenhead 2004 KWM Cask – 55.9% – 12 Year – 2nd Fill Hogshead – Andrew’s Tasting Note: “Nose: soft fruity and cream; waxy with loads of white chocolate, fresh cut flowers and glazed croissants; notes of melon and apricot with Marcona almonds and a touch of white pepper. Palate: round, creamy and fruity with a hint of salt and building spice; very lush and rich for a refill Hogshead at this age; juicy malt, more melon and apricots, glazed croissants and poached pear with a dab of blue cheese; loads of white chocolate, almonds, honey and toasted oak. Finish: long, fruity and floral with loads of white chocolate, toasted oak spice, fading soft fruits and salt. Comment: this is a rare example of a cask we bottled from a single sample… I think the lads at Cadenhead knew we were going to love it; they were not wrong! - $120 (700ml) COMING SOON – Available for Pre-Order – Also available in 50mls at present $15
Evan’s Tasting Note: “Nose: Floral and fruity with mangos and pears, light salt, vanilla pod, white peppercorn, chamomile, blanched almonds, white chocolate, fennel, wood shavings and a hint of aloe. Palate: Porridge with peaches, pears and creamy vanilla yogurt topped with a sprig of mint and a dash of cinnamon. Peppery spice, salted macadamia nuts, pineapple, papaya and light passionfruit notes. Finish: The salt and spice give way to a light sweetness. Comments: Not too overwhelming but also not too simple – this is one balanced dram.”