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Old & Rare

Rare Batch 55

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Glenlochy 20, Glenturret 12, Ladyburn 12 Cadenhead Dumpies

MacRaild kicks off the New Year with a diverse trio of illustrious Cadenhead Dumpies.

First appearing in 1976 and lasting until 1991, Cadenhead bottled a remarkable number of whiskies in its identifiable ‘Dumpy’ livery.

The bottler was ahead of its time in terms of bottling at higher strength, presentation using bespoke distillery fonts, and limited runs of small batches and single casks. The Dumpy series has gathered a hefty cult status among whisky enthusiasts over the years, Angus MacRaild notes, with plenty of dedicated collectors vying to own a bottle.

MacRaild selected three bottles for this tasting. First up is a 1967 Glenlochy bottled at 20 years old in 1988, at this series’ usual strength of 46% abv. He finds it a ‘sublime’ example of a ‘lamentably lost’ west coast Highland distillery and an underrated gem in the Dumpy series.

From such heights MacRaild sinks to dark depths with a 1965 Glenturret, bottled in 1977. It carries a certain notoriety for rather awful soapiness, which MacRaild affirms to his horror upon tasting it. Not a whisky he’ll be drinking again anytime soon.

The standard is remedied by the final whisky, a genuine rarity even by Cadenhead Dumpy standards: a 12-year-old Ladyburn distilled in 1968. Ladyburn was a malt produced within the Girvan grain complex between 1966 and 1976. It has appeared as official aged bottlings and among other independent bottlings such as Signatory under the name ‘Rare Ayrshire’.

However, Cadenhead was the first to bottle the malt and the only bottler to do so at such a young age. MacRaild finds it a sweet, naturally sugary treat of a dram with an easy-going, natural maltiness that reminds him that Ladyburn is not only a rarity, but also a very good whisky.

Scoring Explained

Overview

  • Glenlochy 20 Years Old, Bottled 1988 (Cadenhead)

    Glenlochy 20 Years Old, Bottled 1988 (Cadenhead)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    46%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Flavour camp
    Fruity & Spicy
    Nose

    An intense mix of waxes and gentle tropical fruits. Lots of dried exotic fruits, citrus peel, steel wool, antique furniture polish, faint peat smoke, chalk, flints, lime zest and things like ink, mineral oil and sandalwood. An exquisite and textbook old-style Highland malt whisky aroma. Continues with tiny touches of smoked oats, salted game meats, lemon balm, camphor and wax jackets. A resilient fruitiness throughout that moves more towards white stone fruits after some time.

    Palate

    Immense presence, texture and intensity of flavour. Exotic fruit syrups, fruit salad juices, pine resin, cannabis oil, old Chartreuse, mineral oils, lemon jelly, Tiger Balm, all manner of waxes and soft, fragrant wood spices. Cough medicine and some peat-infused oils as well. Sublime.

    Finish

    Long, warming, mineral, waxy and full of aged Riesling, petrol, toasted breads, salty butter, chopped chives and salty beach pebbles.

    Conclusion

    I’ve long adored Glenlochy; this is one of the best I’ve ever tried. Immense complexity and stunning balance. A ballet of old-school characteristics. 

    Right place, right time

    Psyching yourself up for the audition to be the next Scot’s Porridge Oats man.

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    Glenturret 12 Years Old, Bottled 1977 (Cadenhead)

    Glenturret 12 Years Old, Bottled 1977 (Cadenhead)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    45.7%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Highland
    Flavour camp
    Fragrant & Floral
    Nose

    Hello... oh dear. A glimmer of fruits gives way extremely quickly to some detergent scrubbed concrete. Sour fruit loops, cheap plastic, acid drops, weird stuff... This really threatening soapiness is quite scary. I’m not happy about having to put this in my mouth...

    Palate

    Filth! Total soap bomb. Maybe some rancid candy floss and an out-of-date Twinkie in there somewhere. Fake jelly sweets gone weird under a grill. Make it stop.

    Finish

    Mercifully brief. Although a punishing aftertaste of detergent lingers.

    Conclusion

    I’ll use the rest of the sample to clean some grouting perhaps.

    Right place, right time

    Every serious professional assassin’s number one coating for blowgun darts.

    Ladyburn 12 Years Old, Bottled 1980 (Cadenhead)

    Ladyburn 12 Years Old, Bottled 1980 (Cadenhead)
    Price band
    £ £ £ £ £
    ABV
    45.7%
    Production type
    Single malt whisky
    Region
    Lowland
    Flavour camp
    Fragrant & Floral
    Nose

    A rather intricate sweetness that alludes to fresh dessert wines, honeydew melon and hints of aged mead. There’s a natural dusty, waxy note underneath, which is kind of a Cadenhead Dumpy calling card, but globally it’s rather charming and elegant. Further develops with notes of pollen, icing sugar, sponge cake and posh plum conserve. Some pink lemonade and elderflower sorbet. Then barley sugar and sweet wort. Elegant and quite sophisticated.

    Palate

    Again this rather delicate sweetness. Lots of Poire Williams eau de vie, lemon cake, poppy seeds, lanolin, some cough sweets, Kendal mint cake and lime cordial. Unusual for a malt whisky of this era really — it possesses a delightful natural sweetness. Various caramelised and crystallised fruits, honeycomb, pineapple syrup, dried mango, lemon jelly and hints of custard made with marsala.

    Finish

    Not the longest but still very clean, gently sugary and sweet in a natural, dessert wine kind of way. Lots of fruit syrups, glazed fruits and golden syrup.

    Conclusion

    Never sure what to expect with Ladyburn, although interestingly this is extremely reminiscent of its sibling, the Cadenhead Dumpy 12-year-old distilled a couple of years earlier in 1966. It possesses the same soft, sweet wine profile. A tad short but extremely easy and pleasing.

    Right place, right time

    Probably the sort of alternative to Irn Bru the kids in Hyndland were all drinking around 1980.

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