Can you keep up? I know I certainly cannot with the deluge of releases appearing on a weekly basis. My friends stateside look on with awe and confusion as I regale tales of new releases and bottles scrambles. We are living in bountiful times people.
For now, I’m fortunate to have some disposable cash each month to purchase a couple of bottles, or slightly more, depending on what’s being released. However lately even I’ve been feeling the strain of the avalanche. Somewhere in-between all of the bottle banks, the actual meaning of whisky is being lost as is the enjoyment of opening and sharing.
I’d speculate that about 99% of my own purchases will be opened given time. Whether that’s with friends, my own enjoyment or for the odd tasting now and again, they all count. I purchase what interests and stimulates me. It is something I’ve always done since I was a loveable and huggable kid. Whether it was vinyl, books or another thing, my taste buds and preferences have decided what I purchase. Not what everyone else is enjoying or what might have the most financial value further down the line. Stuff all that nonsense.
Whisky is very much the same today as a loveable and huggable middle-aged adult. A particular distillery, cask or vintage will attract my interest immediately. Everything else tends to become lost within the backdrop. You cannot have everything nor can you try and experience everything. For most of us it is financially impossible and even if you were able to do such a thing, your liver would go on strike given time.
We all should take more time to appreciate the whisky we have. This was brought home to me last weekend – as I write this -when I was on a rare whisky outing in Glasgow. There was the small matter of the Questions for Ralfy tasting at the Good Spirits Company that acted as a magnet and pulled in enthusiasts from across the city, Scotland or further afield. I have stated on Instagram that I won’t talk too much about what happened in that room over the course of a couple of hours.
What is worth remembering is the camaraderie that developed amongst the group as we visited the Pot Still shortly afterwards. This was whisky at its purest form. Not a lavish unicorn whisky nor an exclusive event. Just random individuals with a shared interest, exchanging stories and sharing a dram. This was refreshing as this site is pretty full on at times and human interaction can sometimes fall by the wayside. However, my conversations did reveal that many of you out there think that Adam, Mark and I, and the rest, all have a full-time gig here. Nothing could be further from the truth. We just make the others look part-time perhaps? We write about what stimulates us and in the case of Phil, what really annoys him. It’s a team illusion of full-time-ness and we seem to be doing it rather well.
The point being, we should all take that moment to engage with whisky once again. The absolute moment of peace. Being able to sink into your favourite chair and pop open a bottle. Pour a dram and just disintegrate with the liquid. Let it take us on that journey whether it is to your favourite beach, woodland walk or memories of friends and family. We should use the power of whisky more often – whilst taking a couple of nights off per week!
In my own chaotic lifestyle, I had overlooked this release from Cadenhead’s until the staff in Edinburgh spoke favourably of its charms. Failing to spot a Cadenhead’s release is easily done nowadays, what with their regular releases and then those of their competitors. The Small Batch 46 range is a more affordable everyday drinking outturn. Casks vatted together and bottled at 46%, which means you can pick up a bottle on a regular basis for under £50 that hasn’t been coloured, chill filtered or photoshopped to within a pixel of its existence. These are whiskies that you can uncork with friends and explore without too much effort.
And now for the all-important bottle details. This Speyburn-Glenlivet was distilled in 2008 and bottled at 46% volume in 2018 as part of the Cadenhead’s Small Batch outturn. The single bourbon hogshead gave birth to 348 bottles priced at around £41. Now grab that comfy chair and let us begin this trip…
Cadenhead’s Speyburn-Glenlivet 2008 – review
Colour: A dull gold.
On the nose: A rich caramel and lots of chocolate it must be said. Some honey and then pumpkin seeds, orange pips and a soil quality that goes well with the cocoa. Cardamon and with time the chocolate goes milkier and lemon appears.
In the mouth: Simple stuff but pleasurable nevertheless. A malt emphasis followed by chocolate sponge, syrup, caramel wafers and a spoonful of treacle. On the finish some black pepper and a hint of smoke.
A fair price for the experience. A solid dramming whisky. I can actually see this one being of particular use in a food pairing dynamic. The obvious chocolate dimension opens up various avenues. This might have been very interesting at cask strength but can certainly hold itself when taken down to 46% and is solid overall. Hence our average score.
My thanks to the Cadenhead’s Edinburgh team for the opportunity to try this whisky.