The Claymore Times for March 2012

1994 Caperdonich 46% (LCBO# 262790)

This particular distillery (used to be called Glen Grant #2) went silent 1902 and remain closed for 60 years until it was reopened in 1965 under the name Caperdonich (secret well). Eventually sold to Pernod Ricard in 2001who promptly closed the distillery and remains silent to this day.

Although this distillery was one of the main ingredients of Chivas Regal and Queen Ann they never actually released any bottles of their own and that makes this quite rare but, at a very healthy price point of $99.95 Unfortunately the LCBO only purchased 96 bottles from me.

1994 Caperdonich tasting notes


Colour: Pale Gold

Body: Medium

Finish: Long and warming

Cask Type: Refill Sherry hogshead

Style: Soft, smooth and balanced

Tasting notes.

Aroma without water

Fresh toasted ,alt notes, with subtle floral influences emerging. Sweet and fruity – strawberry jam

Taste without water

Hint of black pepper, creamy and smooth. As subtle aniseed influence lingers

Aroma without water

Fresh with hints of well toasted malt. Some pleasant estery notes. Fruity- fresh pinapple.

Taste with water

Mouth warming, with a rounded hint of spice. A fresh and fruity edge comes to the fore, pineapple

Distillery notes with permission from Malt Maniac Ralfy at

Caperdonich distillery started its life in 1898 under the (relatively uninspiring) name ‘Glen Grant #2′. Caperdonich distillery was founded by J. & J. Grant, the people that also built the ‘original’ Glen Grant distillery in 1840. This brand new whisky distillery (which was built at the height of the whisky boom of the late 19th century) was conveniently located just accross the street from Glen Grant in Rothes. (Other neighbours include Glenrothes and Glen Spey.)

Both ‘sister’ distilleries are located at the northern end of Moraytown Village in Rothes, but only one of them operated continuously until the present day. Caperdonich closed its doors again in 1902, a mere four years after the distillery was opened. This ‘false start’ in the Scotch whisky world was caused by the after-effects of the Pattison Crisis that caused panic in Scotland around the turn of the century. In a way, it was not unlike the credit crisis of 2008…

Nevertheless, during the early years Caperdonich didn’t manage to become as popular as Glen Grant – hence the closure in 1902. Glen Grant Number Two remained inactive for six decades, but in the year 1965 it was rebuilt by Glenlivet Distilleries Ltd. who resumed production. The new owners also changed the name to Caperdonich (“Secret Well”)

In 1977 Seagram from Canada acquired Caperdonich distillery – before selling it on to Pernod Ricard in 2001. Pernod Ricard closed the distillery one year later in 2002, together with three of its sister distilleries; Alt A’ Bhainne, Braeval (Braes of Glenlivet) and Benriach. At the end of the decennium Caperdonich was the only distillery from this group that hadn’t been reopened yet. The longer a whisky distillery remains inactive, the higher the costs of making it operational again. This sad fact makes it ever more unlikely that the Caperdonich distillery will ever be reopened again.

So, it’s hardly surprising that Seagram’s used the malt whisky that was produced at Caperdonich distillery mainly for their blended whiskies like Passport, Chivas Regal, Something Special and Queen Anne. As a result, there are no official bottlings of Caperdonich. Well, at least not that I know of; there is one Caperdonich 16yo 1988/2005 (55.8%, OB, Chivas Brothers) on the MMMonitor.

There have been a handful of independent releases by independent bottlers like Douglas Laing , Duncan Taylor and Gordon & MacPhail, but those are fairly hard to find. Sometimes bottlings can be quite unique though, like a Caperdonich 10yo 1998/2008 by Alambic Classique, which apparently was made from a very rare peated batch. That’s the story of the Caperdonich in a nutshell…

Reproduced by permission of Malt Maniac Ralfy

What’s going on in the area:

21st March at The DAM pub in Thornbury (Stephanie 519-599-2110) with Glenlivet Ambassadour Frank Biskupek and sample the Glenlivet 12yo, 15yo 18yo and the Glenlivet Nadurra Cask Strength special 4 flight vertical tasting & food pairing ~ $35

21st March for the Kitchener companions: (Trish MacNeil 519 749-1166) Rum Runner Pub 1 King Street West, Kitchener, Cost: $50 for members

22nd March Downtown Companions (Ed at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) Three-course dinner and three superb Single Malts. THE ALBANY CLUB

3rd April Niagara on the Lake Companions (Neil Middleton at 905-468-0802) The Old Winery Restaurant.

4th April the York Companions (Robert Head at 905-898-8344) three-course dinner and three superb single malts. RedCrest Golf Club.

20th April Kincardine’s Companions (Dave Dechene 519 396-3692) Best Western Governor’s Inn. Member Price $55.00 ~ Guest Price $65.00

7th May Hamilton Companions (Ed at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ). Three superb Single Malts plus a delicious three-course dinner. Scottish Rite Club, King & Queen Sts. Member Price $50.00 ~ Guest Price $60.00

12th May Spirit of Toronto (Roy Thomson Hall at 416 593 4828)

The Claymore Team (I’m the sexy looking one says Bill Somerville – far left)

A spectacular, once-a-year evening that features a dazzling array of 100 plus single malts and premium spirits, tutored tastings, live jazz and bossa nova, a gourmet table d’hotel from Daniel et Daniel, classic cocktails, and a poolside cigar bar

In my opinion this is Toronto’s best event and we’ll be attending this year again, along with Michael Urquhart who will host a master’s class.

Last year Michael shared a 70yo bottle of Glenlivet with the class (valued at $35,000) and I’m quite keen to learn what he’s going to bring this year, I’ve even tried to bribe some of the folks back in Elgin, but alas, I fear it will remain a secret until the master class starts.

Last year after the Spirit of Toronto finished up we all retired back to the Royal York Hotel for a nightcap, the bar was empty and we still had about 5oz left of the 70yo Glenlivet, the barman promptly produced some clean wine glasses and we finished off the bottle, all the time Michael kept us entertained with stories of his years / decades in the whisky industry. John Urquhart (Michael’s grandfather) learned from James Gordon, and George Urquhart (father) learned from his father – by the end of his life George was universally recognised as one of the most knowledgeable people in the entire Scotch whisky trade. He passed on his skills and experience in selecting and evaluating whiskies to his sons and daughter – Michael is said to have whisky in his blood!

One of these impromptu evenings, unforgettable and another reason why I love my job so much.

And what you may have missed

Tasting with legend Jim McEwan. What a wonderful night and we were able to sample some fabulous Bruichladdich whiskies, my favourite being the 16yo Bourbon cask.

Jim McEwan with Ed Patrick in the background

The event was hosted by Chris Cayley of the Companions of the Quaich in the town of Oakville and Jim McEwan took us through the history of Bruichladdich with his unique sense of humour, “you understand”. Jim had us dancing on the tables which I’m sure brought a frown to the members of the Oakville Yacht Club.

While there, we sampled the Bruichladdich Organic, the Classic, the 15 yo 2nd edition, the16yo Bourbon cask and the Port Charlotte An Turas Mor., A very well organized evening and super fun was had by all.

Could this be the first ever internet whisky tasting? Here’s a report from Trish MacNeil

(Who apparently likes to drink whisky in her underwear?) read on

A group of folks from the Bruichladdich LinkedIn group got together online recently via Skype’s group video chat to share a selection of Bruichladdich single malts. Linda from England, Curt in Ohio from, William “The Scotch Guy” from Missouri, Trish – a convenor with Companions of the Quaich from Ontario and Bill from Claymore Times also in Ontario joined in, with Scott from New York joining in by text from SOBEWWF in Florida. The idea was that each pick a Bruichladdich (or three) and present it to the group, sharing some info about your choice and then taking it through the nosing and tasting process and adding any comments.

It took a bit of planning to find a date and time that worked across all time zones but finally settled on a Sunday at 2pm. By the time that was sorted, Linda had consumed all of her Bruichladdich so chose a Caol Ila instead. Curt brought us the Laddie 10 while occasionally taking a break to check on his burnt offerings on the smoker and leaving the group wishing Skype had a scent plug-in. William had an exquisite line-up for us – Bruichladdich 15 Year Old / Links VIII-Torrey Pines, Infinity #1 & Golder Still, causing the group to ask William to adopt us (he declined). Scott was pouring Laddie 10 and Botanist Dry Gin at SOBE. Bill chose a Bruichladdich 16 yo. Bourbon Cask that he clearly enjoyed and Trish rounded out with a Port Charlotte An Turas Mor that she paired with a good cigar (kidding on the cigar). We were able to see the colour of the whiskies quite well, enjoyed the chatter and discussion about all things Bruichladdich and whisky and consensus was that the experience definitely deserves a repeat. Things learned from the first attempt at an online tasting via Skype – turn off the updates on your computer before getting started, it’s a great deal of fun to compare notes and talk about Whisky with other enthusiasts and that the experience should definitely be repeated and finally, if you’re in your underwear while you’re drinking whisky with others, nobody will know.

Gordon & MacPhail releases a 60yo Glen Grant to celebrate the Queens jubilee

King George VI’s health was deteriorating, forcing him to abandon his proposed trip to Australia and New Zealand. Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip were scheduled to take his place. They visited Africa on their journey to the southern hemisphere.

On 6th February 1952, whilst staying in a remote part of Kenya, Princess Elizabeth received news of her father’s death and of her own accession to the throne. Her tour was abandoned and she flew back to London, where she was greeted by Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

After lying in state at Westminster Hall, King George VI was buried on 15th February 1952.

Over a year later, on 2nd June 1953, Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation was held at Westminster Abbey.

Places of interest

Benromach Distillery


Curt’s blog

Gordon & MacPhail

Malt Maniacs

PUB Magazine

Ralfy whisky blog

Whisky Intelligence

The Scotch Guy

Other Whiskies Arriving Soon in Ontario


1997 Dailuaine

1958 Glen Grant

30yo Benromach