I will admit I had high hopes for this one – both as it is from North Starand also my last Cambus stood out as my favourite grain yet!
Cambus 24 year (May 1993/Sep 2027) 52.7% (North Star – Series 003)
Colour – Light gold
Nose – Big old dusty cupboard, fruity yet also sour, some leather reminiscent of a tannery, earthy, dry old leaves – that distinctive neem leaf in particular, sweet dry flowers… started to shift into vanilla toffee, caramel cream
Palate – Light yet slightly sharp, a bit piquant, sour fruits, curiously “slim”
Finish – Negligible
Water – Softens the grain on the tongue, making it milder… settled into cured leather with toffee cream, a bit of an odd combination
We set it aside for a bit and returned to find the sulfur of matchsticks with sweet cinnamon! It wasn’t bad but it didn’t exactly rock our boat.
Though we originally tasted the Cambus in February 2020, there was a bit remaining which I revisited in May. What did I find? The sour fruits were quite pronounced on the nose, however the sharpness we found earlier was gone, replaced with sweetness that became quite tasty on the palate. Not a bad way to finish the last few drops!
Girvan 8 years (2006/2014) 46% from Berrys’ – Starts with a hit of pure alcohol then sweet bananas, some vanilla from the oak wood, lemon drop sweetness peeped out… all the elements were very subtle with the overall scent of light varnish
Girvan 28 years 42% – From a bio-chemistry set to sweet fruits, pudding, tasting like honey water, eclair and a caramel rum ball
Strathclyde 25 year (1990/2016) 51.1% from Douglas Laing – A remarkable nose that kept evolving – all elements nuanced yet distinctive. Whereas on the palate, it was came across as innocuous, something to accompany with little remarkable on its own.
Still to try something from North British and Starlaw… However not such a bad start to exploring this category of whisky!
Curious about even more grains? Check out this Grain’s pagededicated to just grain – in all its various from Scotland to Japan to North America and Europe!
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Every once and a while there is a chance to sample a piece of whisky history. In this case from a Lowland grain distillery that shut its doors in 1993. Before that, Cambus produced grain from early 1800s, with a hiatus from 1913 to 1938 when a fire destroyed much of the original distillery before it was rebuilt.
Like most grains, it mostly went into blends and you won’t find any official bottles. However – if you are lucky – you may come across a few select independent bottles… such as the one from Signatory that I snagged in Singapore at Whisky Live.
Cambus Single Grain 24 year (1991/2015) Cask 55891 51.9% (Signatory Vintage), Bottle 22 of 447
Nose – Floral, tempting, subtly complex, honey lemon, shifting between a heady perfume and light ginger, cinnamon, butterscotch and rich vanilla cream
Palate – Spice, with a great mouthfeel, cream like Amarulla with a bit of a hazelnut too, fruity, there was depth and character yet with a soft touch
Finish – Lightly bitter, closing on more of that delicious vanilla
Water – Brings out even more vanilla and toffee, think of a butterscotch ice cream
Overall it was exceedingly tasty… and far far far too easy to drink! It was hard not to say things like “Really nice!” and other happy murmurings.
And that’s just the thing about this whisky – it is simply delicious! A happy companion for a pleasant evening. It doesn’t challenge you but it does have enough substance and spice to make it a sprightly delightful dram.
What else do we know? It quietly matured for 24 years in a single refill butt and was bottled at cask strength.
Since then I will admit to taking another nip or two as it is simply a rather enjoyable whisky. I keep telling myself to stop and keep it for others to try a sip of history but it sits in my cabinet temptingly tasty. And did I write more tasting notes? No… it was simply too tasty a treat to do anything but enjoy.