Saturday, April 16, 2011



First time I read about Caperdonich was in Jim Murray's Complete Book of Whisky

It started it's early existence as Glen Grant no. 2, the newmake being pumped across the street to Glen Grant, 1897-1902

Jim Murray writes :

"...But from day one it was known that the whisky was not living up to expectations, and with the advent of the whisky crash, a perfect excuse was found to close it just four years later..."

The distillery was reopened in 1965 as Caperdonich (SWA naming rules now prohibited Glen Grant no. 2)

 Jim Murray writes

 "..different name, same old inferior whisky. The outside of the distillery is unattractive, yet I have enjoyed spending a cold winter's evening sitting in the stillhouse there. Stills, mashtuns, washbacks - everything is in close proximity and it feels good. The malt, though, even samples I have tasted from sherry casks, are as featureless as the distillery's exterior. It is a dram that Seagram has never once felt inclined to bottle and that is a wise choice. It is not so much a bad whisky as a boring one. Its vague pine aroma and sweet maltiness are fine for the anonymity of a blend but, because of a near non-existent finish, it remains an under-achieving dissapointment beside its brilliant older brother."

"CAPERDONICH - Impossible to find and one worth missing"
Here's a photo a friend took in 2009 when we did a tour of all the Rothes distilleries, Caperdonich just from the outside unfortunately


The distillery operated from 1965-2002 and was then mothballed. 

Well, it didn't look like a distillery where you would go around bottle hunting...if you could find any bottles that is. The describtion is as this could be the worst distillery of Scotland

Trust's not. It's closer to being the best hidden gem of Scotland 

Fist time I got the feeling there was something worthy about Caperdonich was after buying an SMWS bottling. At SMWS the distillery name is hidden behind a number code, and if you want to you can drink without knowing, which might be an advantage. I usually purchased what I like without knowing (harder these days as I learned quite a few of the code numbers)

It was a brilliant, and the bottle is long gone but it put the distillery on my mind. It was still hard to find Caperdonichs out there. Then Mark Watt from Duncan Taylor started going on about Caperdonich, how good it was and that it was his favourite distillery - So I picked up some bottles from them, and started hunting it in bars and tastings, fairs and events. Especially the 72's were brilliant whiskies. I also picked up or tried 1980 bottlings from Cadenhead and AD Rattray and some "young" 12-14 year old bottlings from Cadenhead, a recent peated 12yo from Berry Bros and Chivas Brothers also have released the only "OB" in their Cask Strength Editions series. I have also experienced some really great bottlings from Gordon and MacPhail

In general I find this to be a malt of high quality, with the 72's and the 80's being in the top of the class of whiskies of the world. I think even Jim Murray has changed his mind if you read his latest whisky bible ratings :-)

Sadly Caperdonich was demolished in 2010, Mark Watt posted this photo on his blog :

Mark Watt standing on the remains

Read his blog entry here :

Well, its sadly closed. But the distillery doesn't have a marketing department, no fancy crystal decanters and no exclusive releases. This is where to get quality for money, no 1000£ bottles available yet for the collectors

2 Caperdonich's

1. Caperdonich 23yo Cadenhead 1980 58%

A delightful light spicy nose, the palate has a mustyness, which always reminds me of a warehouse floor

The spicyness is a bit like dark bitter chocolate, which is trying to hide a fruityness but doesn't quite succeed

The finish is short-medium but is there!

Rating 85

2. Caperdonich 25yo 1980 cask 7339 AD Rattray  53.1%

A very fresh and light expression of Caperdonich, which reminds me more of the 72's. The nose is a very light version of the Cadenhead above, just a lot more subtle with hints of vanillawood and gentle citrus fruits. The palate is a mouthwatering follow up, still subtle in it's expression. The finish is longer, and after about 5 seconds the palate explodes with vanilla wood being dominant

Rating 90

Most cask strength Caperdonich I had with an ABV above 50 has benefit a lot from being open


  1. I agree with you on the 72 Caper's. really excellent stuff. Especially the november '72'S. I just love that fruitiness.