Soon four exciting bottlings from the series Cooper’s Choice will be released, and I have tried them!

This summer four bottling from the Crook family and The Vintage Malt Whisky Company will be released. It’s all about independently bottled whisky where quality is more important than quantity.

Brian Crook founded the Vintage Malt Whisky Company in 1992. With him he had more than 20 years of experience working at Islay distilleries, managing exports at Bowmore, amongst other things. At the end of the 1980’s Brian saw an opportunity to launch peated single malt whisky to the broad public, with an ever increasing demand as a result, even today. Today it’s his son Andrew who runs the successful business, with Cooper’s Choice as The Vintage Malt Whisky Company:s most prestigious series, and under this name unique whisky from all over Scotland is bottled.

This week I’ll work my way through four different bottlings with four different styles, and the first one is a grain whisky! Cambus was a Scottish distillery situated in a village with the same name, and between 1809 and 1993 produced grain whisky, but finally ended production and shut down. The distillery belongs to the whisky region Lowlands, and during a period in the 1800’s it was one of the largest grain distilleries in the whole of Scotland. Between 1914 and 1937 it was closed due to a damaged caused by a fire, but during the reconstruction of the damaged parts of the distillery the owners chose to extend the production even more, for example by producing gin. When Diageo closed down Cambus permanently in 1993, they dedicated the premises and buildings to processes such as warehousing, storage and cask filling.  

Cambus 1991 25 yo

General facts: This bottling is a single cask bottling where the spirit was distilled in 1991 and bottled in 2017, making it 25 years old. The cask is a sherry cask (which isn’t that common for a grain whisky) with the number 61983 and the whisky was bottled with an ABV of 58,5%. This whisky has neither been chill-filtered nor coloured. The bottling will be released the 7th of July and only 360 bottles are available in total, 219 of them for the Swedish market. The price is about £108 and the ordering number for the Swedish monopoly stores is 11035-01.

Colour: Amber

Nose: Initially there is a sort of burnt sensation here but without any bitterness, and together with some sami-dark chocolate. The nose is very fruity but also kind of “dense”, if you know what I mean. A spirit note is noticeable but it doesn’t disturb the overall impression. There are also quite a few contrasts here, too – syrupy sweetness fights whiteboard pens. Toffee, figs and dates together with orange lemonade and some walnuts. After a few drops of water banana candy and caramel covered nuts emerges, the latter kind of like pecan pie. After a while the nose calms down and turns creamier and sweeter, with cappuccino or ever coffee flavoured sweets.

Taste: What a complete fruit bomb!! There is clear evidence of sherry here, and despite of it’s mature flavour the whisky has a distinct spritity note to it. Heaps of dried fruits are fighting for the attention with dried figs and apricots as front runners. Sweet waffler with dusted sugar and syrup appear together with spices such as cloves and cinnamon. Then a taste note a best can describe as chocolate flavoured breakfast cereals arrive. With water the chocolate note becomes more prominent and is accompanied by some fresh, herbal mint.  

Finish: Spices en masse make up most of the finish to begin with, but after a while nuts and fruits emerges. Generally speaking the aftertaste is a bit vinous and pretty sweet, and dark chocolate is part of the flavour profile here too. With water it becomes slightly more bitter with coffee notes and an almost stout-like sensation. And actually also something reminiscent of physalis, surprisingly enough!

I am in general quite fond of grain whisky, and drink it too seldom in my own opinion. That’s why I every now and then try to find a bottle of two since one can usually find good quality for a good price when it comes to grain – thanks to malt whisky snobbery, I guess! That’s why tasting a sherry matured Cambus was extra fun since most of the grain whiskies I’ve had so far have been bourbon matured. How about the whisky, then? Well, this was a dram the both opened up and calmed down with a touch of water, which I found was a good thing. Okey, it was pretty brilliant already before adding water but I though it showed more depth and harmony with just that one extra drop or two. And then… My god, fifteen desserts in one and the same glass – hooray! This whisky tickles my sweet tooth a lot and shows incredible richness of flavour. This dram can be savoured a long time and sure deserves the saying “a little goes a long way”.