Its been a bit hectic these last few weeks and I am really needing to clear some samples so this weeks review is a double feature, looking at two different drams from the same distillery.
Both drams are single grains from Cambus distillery, each one from a separate independent bottler.
Cambus Distillery was closed in 1993 by its owners Diageo and is now their main cooperage plant, having been a cask filling and warehouse plant for a short time previously.
Cambus was (and I suppose still is) well regarded by the blenders of the time and as a result it was highly sought after. The last official Cambus release was a 40 yo as part of the Special Releases collection of 2016.
As ever we must be grateful to taste and careful to savour anything from a closed distillery as after all they are finite resources.
First up is a new release from R&B Distillers. This is a vatting of two ex-bourbon casks of 27yo Cambus, a distillery which plays a notable part in R&B Distillers history as it was a major component in the recipes of the original Tweeddale releases.
Tweeddale Silent Character, 52%abv, (27yo Cambus), IB, R&B Distillers, press sample (available here soon)
The nose is a touch woody but pleasantly sweet. Surprisingly fresh and fruity for a grain with some good strong elements of peach and apricot jam. Deep underneath is a slight herbaceousness in a sort of grappa style, alongside some chewy Highland Toffee.
The palate is, as I tend to find with grains, quite simple but indeed pleasant. Good elements of vanilla and tropical fruits. There is a slight citrus presence and a sprinkling of pepper. Some oaky notes lead on to the finish.
The finish has a just slightly perceptible sharp hint of wood but it is quite well wrapped up in some great buttery vanillins. A touch of water helps bring the oak under control and restores balance perfectly.
Thanks to R&B for the sample.
The next Cambus comes from another indie bottler, Whisky Broker.
It is a 25 yo Cambus, but this time has been matured in a sherry butt. Distilled in 1991 and bottled in early 2017 it has long since sold out. I had the good fortune to get in on a bottle share of this, otherwise it may have passed me by.
Cambus 25yo, IB, Whisky Broker, 52.7%abv, from my collection, (no longer available).
The nose is curious. Some strong vanilla essence mingles with some Muscovado sugar and maple syrup. There are also elements of dark chocolate and pencil eraser, I also picked up on some touches of treacle and leather.
The palate is lightly woody initially, some cedar jumps out. There are strong notes of coffee and treacle tart, along with some redcurrants and the usual sherry suspects of tobacco and spices emerge after a little time in the glass.
The finish is long, lingering and tannic. Spices and some nutty elements dry up the palate pleasantly and make way for the return of the Cedar notes.
I found that both drams required a touch of water. The Tweeddale to round off the oak notes in the finish and the Whisky Broker to open up the flavour profile fully.
One distillery, two different styles, two different bottlers and a pleasure to try them both.