One of the smallest distilleries in Scotland, the Edradour is situated in Pitlochry, central to the highlands. The distillery is both unique and traditional for a host of things, in the sense that it houses a rather small cast iron mash tun that is over a century old, a Morton refrigerator, possibly the last of its kind, two wash backs each over half a century old, two copper stills and worm tubs, their stills being some of the smallest in Scotland! The distillery as you might have guessed hasn’t really deviated from “tasks from the past”, and that they remain distanct from modern gadgetry and major advances in technology.
Housed close to the river Edradour, all of its water requirements are met by this local water body! The river blankets the nearby peat bogs that lie on soft sandstone deposits, which is believed to lend the spirit a crispy character. The whisky itself is matured for a minimum of 12 years, first in American ex-bourbon oak for around 5 years, followed by ex-olorosso barrels for the remainder of the time, giving its unorthodox dark hue.
The expression, “Caledonia” was named after a song by Scottish singer-songwriter, Dougie Maclean. The word itself is Latin, and was used to describe parts of Britainnia (Great Britain) that also included Scotland. The song was written at a time when Dougie on a trip to France was homesick with fond memories of home and that of the Edradour distillery. This inspiration gave rise to the song and reasoning for Maclean together with the folks at the distillery to collaborate and release this small batch bottling under the same name.
ABV : 46%
Eye : Mahagony | Non Chill Filtered, Natural Colouring
Nose : Begins with rum n raisin cake topped with caramel drizzle, dates and dark chocolate. Strong wine influences with a reminiscent earthiness; some oak, leather and green pepper. Quite medicinal on the nose with a pinch of cardamom, some cinnamon paired with hints of menthol.
Taste : Christmas cake and red wine, some caramel, and brown sugar. Fruity and dry on the palate, layered with dark prunes, plums and cherries; infused with spices, moist wood and some peppermint.
Finish : Medium to long | Dry, sherried with woody nuances and a mild spice.
The Caledonia is a sherry bomb no doubt and the extended sherried maturation gets all the credit here. Though not really oily or viscous, there are layers to the whisky, that make it rich and decadent to the sherry lover. Strong in terms of breadth and complexity, it brings a fusion of spice, dark fruits, winey influences with that dryness on the palate. However on the flip side, it tends to be too heavy for a 12 YO and hence too much for the average Joe who doesn’t take to too much sweetness.
To me, this whisky though enjoyable was a bit of a hit or miss; the rich sherry was possibly a bee’s bum too much, but on most occasions I did find it to be pleasant, satisfying and settling. The Edradour 12 is not easy to come by owing to its lowered production and the Covid situation and at around AUD $130 it does hover around the pricier side of 12 YO bottlings but is a keeper if you love your sherries!
Preference : As is or with a bit of dilution, depending on your tolerance to the sherried influences.