Cadenhead's Girvan 9 Year Old Pinot Noir Finish Single Grain Whisky
Almost halfway through the year and I finally get around to posting a review on here....that's dedication folks! Not ideal but that's life I'm afraid.
So to kick off 2020 on Causeway Coast Whiskey Reviews I thought that I'd look at something a little different in the form of a Single Grain whisky from independent bottlers WM Cadenhead Ltd.
Cadenhead's were founded in 1842 by William Cadenhead as a Wine & Spirit Merchants in Aberdeen and remained in family ownership until they were taken over by J & A Mitchell & Co of Springbank Distillery fame in the early 1970's. They are one of my favourite independent bottlers that always seem to offer good value for money. If you want to try distilleries unadulterated by multiple finishes Cadenhead's is a good place to start.
Although the is an irony in the previous statement as this expression actually boasts a finish in the form of extra maturation from a Pinot Cask which is what actually drew me to it. Young grain whisky with a red wine cask finish is pretty uncommon.
Now they say finish on the label but I personally call this a double maturation as it has spent nearly 2 years in the Pinot Noir cask. So can that time with the red wine add subtlety and interest to what could be a fairly bland base spirit?
This was distilled in 2009 and bottled in Summer 2019 after being in a Pinot Cask since July 2017. It's cask strength at 61.4%, is non-chill filtered and natural colour and cost £42 from the Cadenhead webstore. It was one of 294 bottles.
Colour: Blushed Rose
Nose: Quite a strong alcohol kick here. Grain spirit very prominent - floral and perfumey. Once past the alcohol there is vanilla, almonds, strawberry syrup and corn oil. Water brings ginger bread, brown sugar and dates.
Palate: Even at full strength this is fairly light bodied and approachable. There is the signature floralness that comes from young grain spirit. Vanilla custard, strawberry laces and raspberries too. Water helps it open out a little more. Dark brown sugar, date, pepper heat and more red berries.
Finish: It's short with lingering alcohol heat and drying oak tannins.
Overall: Sadly a bit one dimensional to be honest. It was all about that Pinot Noir cask and not much else. Really it needed much more time to mature in the bourbon casks and probably a shorter time in the Pinot Noir cask to make something that could have been a decent drop. As is it's fairly forgettable.