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Independent bottlers

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Independent bottlers

Postby Whiskytaster » Sun Jul 13, 2008 9:24 pm

I have just opened a bottle of Cadenheads's Macallan 19 year, 1987, 52.5% and am a little disappointed.

The whisky has no smothness and is carrying a nasty edge on it, not at all like the Mac OB 18 year I usually enjoy as my favourite dram. Tried to let it sit, water, etc - still has a sour bitterness to it.

Was wondering if anyone else out there has had a similar experience. Dodgy bottle? or dodgy bottler?
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Re: Independent bottlers

Postby irishwhiskeychaser » Sun Jul 13, 2008 9:41 pm

Any Cadenheads for me usually have been good experiences. However you have to realise you are dealing with a single csak expression and may not reflect what you get in an OB ...... however maybe you've been unlucky.

I don't know if they do many bad bottles but for me Cadenhead is one of the best as it is probably one of the best shops where in a lot of cases you can sample before you buy. Therefore you don't get any nasty surprises when you get home. I have 3 Cadenhead bottles open at the moment and cannot complain about any but whether they are like their OB counter parts I would very much doubt.
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Re: Independent bottlers

Postby Ras Mazunga » Sun Jul 13, 2008 10:40 pm

First of all wellcome to the forum second: Don't worry!
Probably it's nbs. (new bottle syndrome. )
Just give your dram plenty of time to breathe. Nasty sharp, bitter, sulpur and other off notes go away. Several bottles I hated in the beginning became better and better along the way.
A fellow forum member whose name I forgot opens his 105 for a couple of months then closes it and waits a week or so before drinking it.
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Re: Independent bottlers

Postby Ganga » Mon Jul 14, 2008 12:23 am

The Cadenhead bottling can be quite different from the OBs. First, as pointed out, they are usually a single cask. Plenty of variability. Second, Cadenheads are usually cask strength but not always (see bottlings from the 1970s). What is the percentage on yours? You bottle may require the addition of water if you are not used to cask strength bottlings. Third, the whisky may have been from a bourbon cask as opposed to sherry cask.

Also, it may take some time for the whisky to open up. Give the bottle some time and come back to it.
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Re: Independent bottlers

Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Jul 14, 2008 1:04 am

I've been happy with Cadenheads bottlings I've had. The variability is precisely what one is looking for with single-barrel IB's--variations on a theme, or even some over-the-top riffing. If it's "smoothness" you're after--and I will tell you straight out, that's my least favorite descriptor--you might be better off sticking to OB's. You take Kenny G; I'll take Ornette Coleman.
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Re: Independent bottlers

Postby jmrl » Tue Jul 15, 2008 10:02 pm

I know this bottle. On first tasting I found it too sherried and consigned it to the 'one for heavy sherry lovers' bin. However I was please to see it open up with time. Of course a full bodied whisky might pick the moment to appeal. Not every dram comes across the same way every time you try it. Something like this might need a particular mood to suit its style. Now I think the bottle has setttled and has a wider appeal than I first credited it with.

Don't give up as patience is sometimes needed for some bottlings.

Otherwise

A, you don't like it and it will not grow to as it is not to your taste

or

B, its a bad bottling that wouldn't appeal to many at all.
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Re: Independent bottlers

Postby dcscotchchick » Fri Jul 18, 2008 3:04 pm

Is there generally a huge difference in bottlings? Is any one bottling more authentic than the other? How do you know which is the "true" bottling?

I've just recently learned abut independent bottlers and find it interesting.

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Re: Independent bottlers

Postby irishwhiskeychaser » Fri Jul 18, 2008 3:28 pm

dcscotchchick wrote:Is there generally a huge difference in bottlings? Is any one bottling more authentic than the other? How do you know which is the "true" bottling?


It erally depends on what your looking for .....

for example I love Glenrothes but I have yet to get an Indy bottle that I like :(

Sprinkbank & Talisker on the other hand are other favourites but I have found that the single cask independent bottlings I have had have been wonderful with extra dimentions that I had not got from the regular OB's

A single cask can be sublime but also could have too much wood or too much burn or too much this or that but when you get an OB because all these different cask are blended in together you get a consistency that cannot not be got from a single cask bottling.

The reason I buy cadenheads mostly is I can get to taste them first but I have to go to Amsterdam to do that :lol:
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Re: Independent bottlers

Postby TreacleSponge » Fri Jul 18, 2008 5:25 pm

dcscotchchick wrote:Is there generally a huge difference in bottlings? Is any one bottling more authentic than the other? How do you know which is the "true" bottling?

I've just recently learned abut independent bottlers and find it interesting.

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1) Yes there can be a huge difference between bottlings. For example Mortlach F&F is all rich fruit cake and winter warming, but the couple independent Mortlachs I've tried just don't have that lovely Christmassy thing going on.

2) No, IBs are as authentic as OBs. You could even argue that IBs are more authentic because the bottler has selected a single cask rather than blended from the warehouse of casks available to the distiller. And more often they're cask strength and not chill-filtered. But really neither is more authentic than the other.

3) I suppose the "true" bottling would be the OB - that's the flavour that the distillery has decided they want to consistently achieve with each bottle (except when they've released a single cask bottle eg. Balvenie 15 in which case there will be variation). And when people refer to a bottling, eg. Macallan 18 they mean the OB unless they say otherwise.

But I think "true" is misleading because the OB is not more "right" than an IB, and it's not necessarily better. IBs increase your choices. Sometimes the bottles are different ages to the OBs. Sometimes they taste very similar to OBs. I love Caol Ila, but I'd get very bored if I just swapped between the 12 and 18yo, so I tend to have independents as well. And I've had some Caol Ila IBs that beat the pants off the OBs.

So stop playing it safe DC, go get some independents and let us know what you think :) :thumbsup:

[Edited so as not to look a fool, thanks Ganga ;)]
Last edited by TreacleSponge on Fri Jul 18, 2008 6:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Independent bottlers

Postby Ganga » Fri Jul 18, 2008 5:51 pm

It should be noted that some distilleries are uncommon to non-existant in OB form. AnCnoc, Cardhu spring to mind immediately for the Los Angeles market.

Single casks can provide you with some of the best experiences. Each cask has its own personality and can have this unique character that gets swallowed up when vatted with hundreds of other casks. This can be good or bad.

Currently, I have a Glenfarclas single cask that exemplifies this point. There's this cherry note that I've never found in any other Glenfarclas. Although it is only an 11 yo, I find that it provides more for me than the OB 25.

PS. The a'bunadh is a vatting of casks. Can't remember how many but my recollection is something on the order of 50ish.
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Re: Independent bottlers

Postby The Scotch Chix » Sat Jul 19, 2008 1:35 am

[url]The reason I buy cadenheads mostly is I can get to taste them first but I have to go to Amsterdam to do that :lol:[/url]

Please tell us where. The Scotch Chix are headed there in October.

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Re: Independent bottlers

Postby Deactivated Member » Sat Jul 19, 2008 11:25 am

Most IBs will bottle something a little different from the standard OB expressions, that's their strength and their business.

If they were the same as OBs, what would be the reson to buy from an IB? It would just be a price war!

I have discussed the differences between IB and OB bottlings with a few of the independent bottleers and they pride themselves on their choices of casks for bottling. Their aim is very often (if not always) to provide a different experience. Something to make you sit up, think and take notice.

For example, I tried a great Talisker from Hart Bro's at the last Munich Festival. If I had tried this blind I would probably not have placed it as a Talisker, but it was an excellent dram and one which opened my eyes to how a Talisker can taste.

As for Cadenhead, their CS Caol Ila which I used last year was one of the best Caol Ilas I have ever tasted.
Again at the Munich fair this year their Tullibardine was fantastic.

I have tried a couple of their issues which were not so stunning, but they were still pretty 'normal' drams and quite drinkable.
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Re: Independent bottlers

Postby Willie JJ » Sat Jul 19, 2008 1:54 pm

If you are hoping for a whisky that has the charactersitics of an OB then you should never buy a single cask bottling unless you have tried it first to see if it has what you want. They are hugely variable, but that is the whole point.

Gimme single cask any day.

Cheers

PS Cadenhead is a great bottler and the whisky world would be much poorer without it.
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Re: Independent bottlers

Postby Wave » Sat Jul 19, 2008 3:51 pm

Willie JJ wrote:PS Cadenhead is a great bottler and the whisky world would be much poorer without it.

Here here! :thumbsup:

Cheers!
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Re: Independent bottlers

Postby Whiskytaster » Mon Jul 21, 2008 12:06 am

Having started the thread about the cadenhead mac 19, I thought I should give you all an update...

The bottle has calmed down a tremendous amount. The nasty chemical taste and nose has almost completely died away, and left a wonderful rich sweetness.

We did a blind head to head last night with a few friends of the Mac 12 OB, Mac 18 OB and Cadenhead Mac 19. The girls liked the 12, as it was lighter, however, the 18 was the overall winner, but only just.

The 19 is really starting to come into its own. I wonder what it will be like in a few more weeks...
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Re: Independent bottlers

Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Jul 21, 2008 11:49 am

Were the 12 & 18 Sherry or Fine Oak?
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Re: Independent bottlers

Postby Newbie » Mon Jul 21, 2008 1:17 pm

Someone mentioned opening a bottle and leaving it to settle - is that with the cork in or out?!

If your after consistancy then OB are the way to go.

The thing that puts me off from buying IB's is the variability, it may be to my taste or it may not. Also I would hate a bad example to put me off a particular distillery. But thats why this forum is great as I listen to what other members say about a whisky to see if it'll be right for me.
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Re: Independent bottlers

Postby irishwhiskeychaser » Mon Jul 21, 2008 4:06 pm

Newbie wrote:Someone mentioned opening a bottle and leaving it to settle - is that with the cork in or out?!



I would say cork in .... just that first bit of air after 2 drams is enough to start an interaction. Cork off and you may well start letting the alcohol evaporate off ....
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Re: Independent bottlers

Postby irishwhiskeychaser » Mon Jul 21, 2008 4:08 pm

The Scotch Chix wrote:[url]The reason I buy cadenheads mostly is I can get to taste them first but I have to go to Amsterdam to do that :lol:[/url]

Please tell us where. The Scotch Chix are headed there in October.

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Check here .... map and all :thumbsup:

Not a long walk from the centre but probably better getting a Taxi out in the first place so as your sure to get there. However if you get to sample as much as I did you may need a taxi back also :lol:

http://www.cadenhead.nl/contact.php

The website is not totally up to date with all stock and I found some gems that he had not listed at all :D (Probably because he was at the end of that particular stock)
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Re: Independent bottlers

Postby Whiskytaster » Tue Jul 22, 2008 3:34 pm

The blind tasting was between the

12 year OB, Sherry
18 year OB, Sherry
19 year, Cadenhead, Sherry

none from the fine-oak range.
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Re: Independent bottlers

Postby Deactivated Member » Tue Jul 22, 2008 3:48 pm

The 12y Sherry is good, but the 18y version is very, very good. It's not surprising that this was the winner.
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Re: Independent bottlers

Postby bamber » Fri Jul 25, 2008 10:29 am

I've bought loads of Cadenhead's bottlings as I'm often in London and can just pick them up from the shop. Really love their bourbons.

As much as I've usually enjoyed them, I would say they are similar to the SMWS in terms of variability, but without the opportunity to try before you buy. I've never had a "bad bottle", but there have been a few which I would call 75's on the JM scale. Sounds like you have one there.

Personally the only IB that has never let me down is Signatory - especially the CS ones in the fancy bottles - they've all been first rate.

OB's: smooth and consistent - but you will tire of that.
IB's: unpredictable can be great at low price, but more of a gamble.
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Re: Independent bottlers

Postby Whiskytaster » Fri Jun 19, 2009 11:57 am

Just thought I would give you all an update.

With so many other bottles open, I am only just now nearing the end of the bottle.

The sherry notes have taken on a wonderful and warming roundness, without dominating the whisky.

The bitterness / sulphur has all but disappeared - but there is still a trace.

Overall, a wonderful and hugely enjoyable dram (but still prefer the 18 ob, its just that bit smoother).
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Re: Independent bottlers

Postby Ganga » Fri Jun 19, 2009 10:35 pm

Very good news! Sometimes a touch of sulpher adds character. Too much generally destroys the whisky until it's had loads of airtime.
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Re: Independent bottlers

Postby Reggaeblues » Sat Jun 20, 2009 3:08 am

Yes! First time i smelt the dreaded "struck match", which was on a sherried sample offered me by Iain at Glen Moray, I thought it added tremendous character...an interesting foil to the sweet sherry...
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Re: Independent bottlers

Postby TroyM » Wed Jul 01, 2009 2:07 am

I got given a Hart Brothers Macallan 15. Extremly cloudy whisky which I have been assured is purely a result of NCF and then dilution down to 46%. Its a bit daunting when all the other 46% NCF bottles I have are crystal clear. Has anyone else had experience with this particular bottling?
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Re: Independent bottlers

Postby borgom » Wed Jul 01, 2009 3:32 am

TroyM wrote:I got given a Hart Brothers Macallan 15. Extremly cloudy whisky which I have been assured is purely a result of NCF and then dilution down to 46%. Its a bit daunting when all the other 46% NCF bottles I have are crystal clear. Has anyone else had experience with this particular bottling?
Nope, but I did notice that all the bottlings of this were hazy so don't worry it's not just your bottle. My HB Springbank 11 is a bit the same and it tastes fine so i'm sure yours is ok. I'd love to know what you think of it once opened.
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Re: Independent bottlers

Postby Caledonia » Wed Jul 01, 2009 7:47 am

Over the last wee while I fortunatly got to taste some of the new range from a new bottler , dont know if its been mentioned here before. Wyviss?

Had a good few of their whiskies, got notes for most of them so far as well. However for the purpose of time, their are some real crackers among them..ill update when i get my book ;)
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Re: Independent bottlers

Postby desouza » Wed Jul 01, 2009 7:05 pm

Whiskytaster wrote:I have just opened a bottle of Cadenheads's Macallan 19 year, 1987, 52.5% and am a little disappointed.
Was wondering if anyone else out there has had a similar experience. Dodgy bottle? or dodgy bottler?


Don't feel too bad because I had a similar experience with a 19 yr Cadenhead bottling of Edradour. It had to be one of the worst tasting whiskies ever. It tasted like someone washed their hands with Camay soap and drained the wash into the whisky!
Generally most Cadenheads are excellent!
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