The Whisky Tasting Club The Whisky Tasting Club

Hidden Gems of Highlands

Explore whiskies from five of the less well known Highland distilleries.

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Glencadam 10 year old

Glencadam is in the Eastern Highlands, near Brechin. In 2003, Glencadam was purchased by Angus Dundee, who have a range of blends and also own Speyside distillery Tomintoul (which is in our hidden gems of Speyside tasting). This 10 year old expression was released at the end of 2008 and follows the excellent new trends of being unchilfiltered and bottled at 46%.

The Whisky Tasting Club Notes:
Nose: Incredibly complex. Almond sponge fingers. Green bananas. Slightly charred lemon puff biscuits. A dash of orange, a dusting of milk chocolate and a wisp of minty smoke.
Palate: Initially soft and minty honey, soon clobbered by oak and a burst of citrus zest, which, in turn, eventually softens to a layer of mocha and, at the end, spearmint.

Retails for around £35

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Fettercairn Fior

Fettercairn is situated in the Eastern Highlands in the village of Fettercairn, not far from Glencadam, and is a love it or hate it affair. The whisky writer Jim Murray famously gave the previous standard bottlings from this distillery a very hard time in his whisky bible. He hasnít scored this one but this is a vast improvement on previous bottlings. Fior means pure or true in Gaelic, and this expression contains a significant amount of 14 and 15 year old spirit, plus 15% of a heavily-peated five year old whisky matured in first fill bourbon casks. If youíre feeling rich, try one of their 24, 30 or 40 year old expressions. The latter particularly is a stunner!

The Whisky Tasting Club Notes:
Nose: Caramel, stewed fruits, heavy yet clean and grapey. Gingery and sweet. Earthy. A squeeze of lime.
Palate: Light and sherried at first then the earthiness. Candied fruit, dark chocolate, orange and toffee.

Retails for around £40

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Glen Deveron 10 year old

Glen Deveron is produced by the Macduff distillery which is right on the edge of the Speyside region but still usually classified as a Highlander. Macduff produce single malt under the Glen Deveron name since the ownership of the brand Macduff is disputed by Diageo. About 10% of production goes into single malts and there are two official bottlings: a 10 year old and 15 year old.

The Whisky Tasting Club Notes:
Nose: Malt, Sultana biscuit, sherry, lemon peel and orange cream. A slight earthiness.
Palate: Initially malty and sweet with a growing oaky bite, then a fleeting marzipan, liquorice and vanilla seam towards the end.

Retails for around £30

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Aberfeldy 12 year old

Aberfeldy is in the Eastern Highlands and was almost unknown until it was bought by Bacardi in 1998. Although never seen as a single malt prior to this, there are now two official releases: this 12 year old and a 21 year old. The majority of the production goes into blends, and Aberfeldy forms the heart of the Dewar's range of blended whisky, and the distillery also hosts the "Dewar's World of Whisky" visitor centre.

The Whisky Tasting Club Notes:
Nose: Grapey. Dusty. Chocolate limes. Nutty and green fruits. A wisp of smoke
Palate: An earthy, grapey creaminess. Light peppery vanilla. Limes and fruit salad chews. On the finish, cape gooseberries.

Retails for around £35

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Connoisseur's Choice Blair Athol 2007

Blair Athol is one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland, founded in 1798 near the town of Pitlochry in the South of the Central Highlands. Owned by drinks giant Diageo, the majority of the 2.5 million litres production goes into Bells whisky. It is situated in the town of Pitlochry in Perthshire.
This expression was matured in a combination of first-fill and refill sherry casks and was bottled in 2016, making it somewhere between 8 and 9 years old.

The Whisky Tasting Club Notes:
Nose: Sherry. Butterscotch. Raisins. Chocolate. Dried fruits. Brown sugar.
Palate: Smooth. Hints of pepper. Cinnamon. Prune. Ripe banana. Raspberry. Chocolate. Orange zest. Grapefruit?

Retails for around £40

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