Caledonian The Cally 40 Years Old Limited Release 2015 53.5% 1974
|Cask Type||Bourbon Hogsheads|
Serge Valentin (89)
Lovely half-pre-Castro-Cuban, half-Alfred-Barnard-era label. The whisky industry will soon call a guy named Gutenberg at the current rate. Nah, Da Vinci’s too expensive. More seriously, we haven’t tried many Caledonians so far, let’s simply remember that the Haymarket distillery (Edinburgh) was closed in 1987. So, as far as grains are concerned, this is a historical bottling.
Nose: ha, now we’re talking! And we’re talking… Irish. Seriously, you’d think this is pure pot still whiskey, with overripe apples, butterscotch, and this very peculiar metallic side that just works in this context. And of course there’s plenty of vanilla and coconut. Fresh and vibrant, certainly not ’40 years’. I quite like this so far. With water: I like it even more. Some kind of softer bourbon, perhaps. No rye, though.
Mouth (neat): very good, I think. It’s not malt whisky, obviously, but it’s got depth and structure, and all this tropical stuff (Irish indeed) just works. Mango chutney covered with buttered caramel and coconut liqueur, plus mandarin liqueur and perhaps Turkish delights. Goody good, and the oak never comes in the way. Meringue. With water: really very good. No oaky ventures, only stewed fruits and various pastries, including oriental ones.
Finish: quite short, as expected, but clean, fruity, and praline-like.
Comments: I haven’t checked the price, but if it’s fair(ish), it’s a good bottle to own to show your friends that grain whisky’s not always only oak-flavoured ethanol. I really like it very, very mucho.