I have to admit that I hadn’t heard of Cambus until Raymond bottled this 24 years old Cambus 1986 for the Bladnoch Forum. It’s a Lowlands grain distillery that was part of United Distillers / Diageo before being closed in 1993. Cambus is used in blends like Famous Grouse. In 2009, Diageo announced it would open a new cooperage plant at Cambus.
There used to be a semi-official 15 year-old and a few independent bottlings were made available by Cadenhead and Signatory, but it’s very rare.
Cambus 24 yo 1986 (54,7%, Bladnoch forum 2010, hogshead #18988)
Nose: a lot of vanilla on a background of toasted bread. Crême de banane. Some apple. Sweet but rather high on alcohol and sharp wood. Hints of glue. Not too complex. I’ve tried this in different glasses because in some types it just doesn’t seem to express itself. Water helps to bring out coconut, which is nice.
Mouth: not so typical. Big notes of caramel and lots of wood. Honey. Bittersweet notes of oranges. Overall quite nice but also quite neutral: grains, alcohol and plain oak or so it seems. Water helps to soften it again and make it more flavourful (vanilla and coconut again).
Finish: rather short, with juicy oak and zesty oranges.
Maybe it doesn’t make sense to complain because Bladnoch Forum bottlings have extremely competitive prices, but still this was a slight disappointment. Available from Bladnoch – £ 35.
ps/ Perfect timing: Diageo’s plans for the Cambus cooperage plant have been accepted yesterday. It will be operational by 2011.