Today’s dram comes from the Speyside distillery of Tomintoul. It is a 12-year-old bottling, distilled in 2006 and matured in Bourbon Barrels. The whisky was bottled by independent bottler WM Cadenhead for their French importer Dugas, at 55.5%. Dugas didn’t take the entirety of the bottling, so the stock was made available for our Advent Calendar.
About WM Cadenhead Part II: If you’ll refer back to Day 2, we left of the Cadenhead tale with the death of George Duncan. William Cadenhead assumed control of the firm, renamed it after himself and married Duncan’s widow. William Cadenhead was a well-liked man, but his renown had next to nothing to do with his business acumen or success as a vintner or distillery agent. His real talents lay in poetry, which made him something of a minor celebrity in the Aberdeen area.
Cadenhead’s output of poetry was prodigious, but whisky seldom featured in his works, though there was one notable reference to it in his poem Kittybrewster: “‘Her dram was good, but O, her ale!” Cadenhead was a fixture of the Aberdeen business community and society. In 1886 he spoke at the first dinner of the Aberdeen wine and spirits trade, against the temperance movement which was gaining momentum in Scotland:
‘their maligners blamed them for all the evils in the world, and he believed that if they could change the text of Scripture, they would make it read that Adam was tempted with a glass of beer. […] Their opponents would not believe them, but they knew that their motto was: “Let your moderation be known unto men.”’
Cadenhead lead a long and successful life and was friends with William Carnegie, father of Andrew Carnegie. He passed away in his 86th year, ancient for a Scot at the time, which would have been notable, were he not outlived by all five of his siblings, one of whom lived to be 97. On his death in 1904 his nephew and partner, Robert Duthie took the helm of the distillery. And this is where we will leave this installment on WM Cadenhead, to be continued in Part III.
As for today’s distillery, Tomintoul, the distillery opened in 1965 near the village of Tomintoul in Scotland’s Cairngorm Mountains. Tomintoul is the highest village in the Highlands of Scotland, and well off the beaten path. The distillery was opened by a pair of Glasgow whisky brokers to take advance of the boom in demand for Scotch whisky in the 1960s. The Tomintoul-Glenlivet Distillery Co. acquired Fettercairn Distillery to grow their production in 1971. Fettercairn had only just doubled its production the year before. In 1973 Whyte & Mackay acquired the distilleries, where Tomintoul would remain until it was sold to Angus Dundee Distillers in 2000. It would be joined by Glencadam Distillery, acquired from Allied Domecq in 2003. Angus Dundee Distillers maintains a low profile, but in recent years has accounted for 5% of all Scotch whisky exports.
Tomintoul Distillery predominantly produces unpeated single malt whisky. However, every year since 2001 the distillery has layed down casks of malt peated to 55ppm. This whisky is bottled under the name Ballantruan, the spring from which the distillery pulls its water.
Image courtesy of @frombarreltobottle
Cadenhead Tomintoul-Glenlivet 12 Year – 55.5% – 2006 – Bourbon Barrels – Bottled for France –
Andrew’s Tasting Note
Nose: very decadent, strawberry puff candies and caramel; French crepes with powdered sugar and lemon juice; chunky barley and Old English Butterscotch.
Palate: strawberry puzz candies and red shoelace candy; waxy, creamy and honeyed; lusher than expected; buttery French crepes, light on the powdered sugar but drowning in lemon juice; sliced apples and more chewy malt; late decadent spice.
Finish: light with tingling spices and coating oak; decadent and creamy with more strawberry, apple and lemon.
Comment: I had low expectations based on the nose, but was pleasantly surprised by the palate! – $10.99 (50ml mini bottle) – We are looking at bringing in regular size bottles as well.
Playing catch-up on our 2018 Kensington Wine Market Whisky Advent Calendar?