Glenmorangie released back-to-back expressions of its Cadboll Estate in 2020 and 2021, both of which were aged exclusively in ex-bourbon casks, allowing the estate-grown barley to shine without the distraction of any of the distillery’s trademark cask finishing. When we interviewed Glenmorangie’s Director of Whisky Creation, the infamous Dr. Bill, he told us that he thought their homegrown barley was the best quality barley they utilized at the distillery, but he emphasized that the resulting single malt wasn’t, in his words, a “mind-bending innovation.” Both were fairly classic and straightforward expressions, albeit exceptionally fruity and creamy on the palate, especially the 2021 release. Now in its third edition, Dr. Bill has decided to finally spice things up with another estate-grown release, adding a portion of casks finished in his favorite sherry, Amontillado. Thoughts follow.
For fans of the previous Cadboll releases, this will be a slight departure, but only just so. There’s still plenty of that rich, fruity foundation showcased in the previous releases with the addition of some nutty, chocolaty nuance from the sherry finishing. On the nose, initial notes of flambéed banana and dried apricot give way to warm sugared nuts and almond torte. It’s a gentle aroma, but the sherry has added a nice depth to things. There’s an early wave of nougatine and custardy vanilla notes on the palate, but those are shorter lived than previous batches, transitioning quickly to rich, syrupy notes of tinned peaches and pear candies, all balanced by soft, warming baking spice. Lush, sweeter notes begin to dry a bit with the arrival of gianduja and cocoa powder on the midpalate, and that elegant piquancy extends into the finish with lingering notes of chocolate covered orange peel and Amaretti cookies. I happen to have really enjoyed the 2021 release, but this more nuanced, sherry-finished expression is a very close second.