We kicked off our special “Swansong” evening celebrating whiskies that once were with a closed lowland grain distillery – Cambus. This particular cask was bottled by Elixir (aka Sukhinder Singh’s company) and was inspired by my recent experience at Paris Whisky Live with their Cambus 29 (part of Atom Brand’s Darkness range). It was a lovely nuanced fruity expression that drew one in… so I thought this might be a marvelous way to begin our journey.
So what did we think? To start, there is the amusing “retro” label that harkens back to days gone by when Super Mario Brothers video arcade games were all the craze… a wee bit earlier than when this whisky was “born” aka 1990! This more playful approach to whisky labels was most famously done by That Boutique-y Whisky Company, but now can be found popping up in various forms all over.
However, what matters most is the liquid the bottle contains…
- Nose – Spirited at first, fluctuating between hay and grass, then lightly floral, an aromatic chemical, one found a bit of match-head sulfur, the sweetness of honeydew melon, then back to acetone
- Palate – Sharp, sweet, resinous, dark shriveled Indian grape with seeds, bitter almond or hazelnut
- Finish – For a grain, has quite a finish
- Water – Brings out a nice nuttiness on the palate
We set it aside to sample the other two whiskies and on the return, found that the grain had softened, particularly on the palate. One even described it as having a bit of marmite added to the other elements!
What do the folks at Elixir have to say?
A 1990 Cambus single grain whisky from indie bottler Elixir Distillers, matured for 29 years in a single hogshead before being bottled in June 2020 as part of its Whisky Trail Video Games series. Aromas of fresh grass, buttery biscuits, lemon, white chocolate and oak spice fill the nose. The palate offers notes of candy apples, hazelnuts, crystalised pineapple, milk chocolate-covered honeycomb and fragrant chamomile tea.
Whilst we didn’t find all of the elements described, it was interesting… just not sure it was worth the Eur 140 price tag! (purchased this from WhiskyFass in November 2022).
We tried it together in early January 2023 in Mumbai in an evening exploring “Swansong” drams:
- Glenburgie 21 year 43% (Gordon & Macphail Distillery Labels)
- Tullibardine 29 year 47.5% (Chorlton)
Curious about other tasting experiences with Cambus? Check out the following…
- 24 year (1991/2015) Cask 55891 51.9% (Signatory Vintage) + WhiskyLive 2017
- Cambus 24 year (1993) 52.7%
- Cambus 29 year 45.7% (Darkness)
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