Cadenhead’s was founded in 1842 and is Scotland’s oldest independent bottler. They are located in Campbeltown, formerly the leading region for Scotch production, but now home to only three distilleries: Springbank, Glengyle (Kilkerran) and Glen Scotia. J.A. Mitchell & Co. owns Cadenhead’s, Springbank and Glengyle and they’re a huge part of why Campbeltown is still on the map as a recognized Scotch region. At one point in time, the Scotch Whiskey Association was potentially going to decertify Campbeltown as a sanctioned region. At the time, only Springbank and Glen Scotia were producing whisky and that wasn’t viewed as enough production to remain an endorsed region. When they asked what it would take to keep Campbeltown on the map, J.A. Mitchell & Co. was told there needed to be at least 3 operating distilleries. They then purchased the shuttered Glengyle distillery and began producing Kilkerran there. 

Cadenhead’s owns thousands of casks from over 100 Scottish distilleries as well as some distilleries outside of Scotland. They bottle some of the finest Scotch, Rum, and Gin in the world. Cadenhead’s bottles and blends their casks exactly when they deem them ready. They blend everything with an eye toward quality and are never swayed by age statements, sales quotas, or trendy distillery names. They often source from “lesser known” producers and let the quality speak for itself. No additives or coloring are ever used in any of their products and everything is non-chill filtered. Their products are always in limited supply in the US, but are some of the best representations of what I love about Independent bottlers: great value, unique expressions, hidden gems. Please enjoy this unique bottling from Fettercairn Distillery by way of WM Cadenhead’s. 

Chris Freeman

Key Accounts Specialist, Pacific Edge Wine and Spirits (and former PlumpJack Spirits Supervisor)

Cadenhead’s Original Collection Batch #3: Fettercairn 2007, 13 Year

Region / Country of Origin:  Scottish Highlands

About the Distillery: Fettercairn was founded in 1824 and is one of Scotland’s oldest licensed distilleries. It’s located in the Highlands region in the foothills of the Cairngorms. The distillery uses water sourced from the mountains and, in a process unique to their distillery, the still features a copper “cooling ring” that literally pours water on the outside of the neck of the still to cool the vapors inside. 

About this bottling: All small batch releases of Cadenhead’s are a result of blending trials by the team at Cadenhead’s. They blend samples from multiple cask combinations until they find what they like, then vat them together and bottle them at 92 proof. The blends are generally 2-3 barrels for each bottling and never more than 4 barrels. Their library of casks allows them an amazing range of cask types, age, and flavor profiles to source from.

This bottling is a blend of barrels from Fettercairn distillery filled in 2007 and aged for 13 years. It was initially concepted as 100% Bourbon Cask, but the blenders at Cadenhead’s found it to lack a little body. They then tested additions of a variety of Sherry and Port casks and landed on Ruby Port as the winner. The addition of 20% Ruby port cask matured distillate added body and fruit character while still allowing the bourbon cask profile to be the leader. 

Cask Type

80% Bourbon/ 20% Ruby Port 

Price per bottle / $129

Tasting Notes: 

On the nose: Red berries, lightly toasted malt, wet forest floor, stream water and hints of vanilla. 

On the palate: Creamy, buttery texture with toffee notes, some earthy tones and just a bit of biscuit/cracker character. Savory and fairly dry. I get a little bit of the ruby port on the finish with just a hint of stewed fruits. 

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