Day 18′s Advent bottle is another from Cadenhead, but this isn’t another selection bound for the French market. This Cadenhead Glen Ord was selected and bottled for the group known as the Companions of the Quaich. The Companions have three main chapters in Canada: one in Toronto, one in Victoria, and the other right here in Calgary.
It is hard to believe that Cadenhead, the oldest independent bottler in Scotland, was celebrating its 175th Anniversary last year at the same time we were all being so patriotically cheering our young country turning 150. There has been plenty of history talked about in other Advent posts when it comes to Cadenhead and its storied past and present, and there is not much that I can add on that subject. So let’s talk about Ord.
Ord Distillery was founded in 1838 by Thomas Mackenzie at the Muir of Ord in the Northern Highlands (that would be just four years before Cadenheads was established in 1842). Thomas was the Laird of the area and did not run the distillery himself, instead, he leased it out to numerous failed partnerships and renters, none of which managed to keep the distillery in operation for very long, along the way the distilling licence was also sometimes not paid for and it became an illicit operation.
The distillery was sold for the first time in 1855 and suffered a fire that destroyed a newly-built stillhouse in 1878. In 1896 it was sold again to Dundee blending firm James Watson & Son. It was closed from 1917 to 1919 during World War 1, sold once more in 1923 to John Dewer & Sons, and then went through a period of company name changes and amalgamations to eventually be owned by the company that would eventually be called Diageo, whom still own it today.
Currently, the distillery is massive, capable of pumping out 11 million litres of spirit annually according to the 2019 Malt Whisky Yearbook. It doesn’t just distill spirit either: Ord is one of only three distilleries in Scotland that produces the entirety of its own malt requirements (Springbank and the quite new Roseisle. Ord doesn’t just provide its own malt though – it also supplies malt for owner Diageo’s other northern distilleries plus Talisker and sometimes even supplementing Port Ellen in supplying malt for Islay.
Ord is a large production for good reason. Diageo uses the distillery to make spirit earmarked for its many blends including Jonnie Walker and also as one of the three single malts that get bottled under the company’s Singleton Label. The Singleton Brand is either a clever idea or a cheat depending on your bias, as it allows Diageo to claim that they currently have the fourth best selling Single Malt Scotch in the world, only behind Glenfiddich, Glenlivet, Macallan and ahead of Glenmorangie. The difference is they use three distilleries under one label. The Singleton brand was launched in 2006 as an umbrella under which Single Malt Scotch from Ord, Glendullan, and Dufftown are all bottled and sent to specific parts of the world. The Singleton of Ord mostly supplies the Asian market.
Image courtesy of @frombarreltobottle
Cadenhead Ord 13 Year Quaich Cask – 55.1 ABV%
There are only 198 full-sized bottles available of this 13-year-old single malt, bottled at 55.1%.
Andrew’s Tasting Note
Nose: malty, honeyed and sweet; raspberry and kirsch eau de vie; red shoelaces, vanilla pods and hibiscus syrup; a building spicy backboned with candied ginger and wood spices.
Palate: still sweet, honeyed and malty with a toasty-creamy mouthfeel; chunky barley with a flinty minerality and creamed honey; more red shoelaces, subtle floral tones, vanilla and hibiscus syrup; crisp citrus fruits and a coating oily body; the spices build with each sip: more candied ginger and wood spice.
Finish: coating, creamy, malty and oily with more ginger and wood spice; fresh and honeyed with orange and white fruits.
Comment: this bright, honeyed and spicy malt is a very well balanced dram, and a sessionable whisky; independent bottlings of this whisky are hard to come by making this a rare find.
Evan’s Tasting Note
Nose: floral and spicy notes along with lots of toasty, malted grain. Sunflower seeds pistachios, a touch of canola oil, grapefruit rind, baked apples, cinnamon, yeast and bread, and dried grass clippings.
Palate: spicy ginger and black pepper meet creamy honey in a burst of flavour and sensation up front, pineapple, golden delicious apple and yellow plums, vanilla and light oak and wood notes.
Finish: The spice sticks around eventually makes more room for the sweet notes to linger. A touch nutty and dry on the very end.
Comment: The battle between spice and sweet is a lot of fun. It might take your palate a few sips to acclimate, but once it does there is no looking back.
Playing catch-up on our 2018 Kensington Wine Market Whisky Advent Calendar?