Cadenhead’s Convalmore 175th Anniversary Bottling

Convalmore. This is a first for me. Probably because Convalmore is a wee bit pricey. By ‘wee bit pricey’ I don’t necessarily mean ‘overpriced’. This is a 40 year old, single cask, cask strength whisky from a closed distillery and there were only 522 bottles produced. So, this Cadenhead’s bottling at £329* actually isn’t too shabby at all.  It’s just that there’s a fine line between self-employed and unemployed for me these days so I’m grateful for events such as the Campbeltown Malts Festival. Not only because it afforded me the opportunity to try such a dram but also because whisky tastes so much better when you know it’s tax deductible.

In its recent history, Convalmore was mothballed by Scottish Malt Distillers in 1985 and was bought five years later by William Grant and Sons. All of the distilling equipment has been removed but the building currently keeps a watchful eye on casks of Glenfiddich and Balvenie as their contents mature. Whereas the premises are owned by William Grant, the licence to release proprietary bottlings of Convalmore still belongs to Diageo, with recent launches forming part of the Special Releases range.

This Convalmore was one of a line up of eight drams for the 175th Anniversary Tasting as part of the festival’s Glengyle Open Day.

I felt that if someone had waited 40 years to bottle this whisky, the least I could do is spend a little more time with it than a tasting allows…

Convalmore whisky

Convalmore 40 yrs – 56.8%abv

Nose: initial hints of red apple followed by tinned pears and clementines; lemon icing; after a short while, there’s the aroma of cigarette ash in an ashtray followed by pencil sharpenings; with a few drops of water, almonds emerge together with lemon drizzle cake and buttered toast.

Palate: a big spicy kick which subsides quite quickly leaving red apple and tinned clementines; with a few drops of water, there’s tobacco and dark chocolate; ginger; it becomes drying into the long finish.

Overall: this is a Michael J Fox playing Marty McFly kind of whisky; it’s much older than it appears.

* This is the price at the Cadenhead’s shop in Campbeltown.

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