Glencadam is matured in oak wood casks for a minimum of 10 years. To be legally called Scotch, all whisky must be matured for a minimum of 3 years, in oak wood casks, in Scotland. Different flavour notes, such as vanilla, travel from the different layers of wood and into the whisky, changing and evolving over the years as it is left to mature.
We sometimes use casks to impart additional, complimentary characteristics into the whisky. This is referred to as a wood “finish”. We use Oloroso sherry casks from Spain to finish Glencadam for two years, before it is bottled as an Aged 14 Years expression. Portwood casks for Portugal are used to finish Glencadam for two years, and this is released as an Aged 12 Years expression.
Deciding on optimum time to remove the whisky, and which casks to bottle, takes a great deal of skill.
The majority of the casks we used have previously been used to mature bourbon in the USA and have a capacity of approximately 200 litres. The bourbon “seasons” the casks, by removing very intense vanilla flavours that would over-power the unique, subtle flavours in Glencadam.
Bourbon casks are charred with fire inside before they are filled with whisky. This creates a layer of carbon that acts as a filter, purifying the whisky to leave it with a smooth flavour. Glencadam Highland Single malt Aged 10, 15 and 21 Years have all be matured exclusively in ex-bourbon casks.
Oloroso Sherry Casks
Oloroso sherry casks travel to Glencadam Distillery from Spain and have a capacity of approximately 500 litres. “Oloroso”, meaning “scented” in Spanish, is a type of fortified wine produced in Jerez and Montilla-Moriles. The flavour is not sweet like Pedro Ximenez sherry, but dry, rich, complex, nutty and smooth. The inside of an Oloroso cask is toasted, as opposed to being charred, before it’s used to finish whisky.
Glencadam Single Malt is transferred from ex-bourbon casks into the Spanish sherry “butts” when it is Aged 12 Years, and left to mature for a further two years. This imparts the whisky with rich flavours of Christmas cake and dried fruits, and colours the spirit a deep burnt orange.
Portwood casks are also referred to as “pipes” and have a capacity of approximately 500 litres. Port is a type of Portuguese fortified wine made in the Douro Valley. There are a number of varieties than can be found, including dry and white, which are usually drank as a desert wine. Only port from Portugal can be labelled “Porto”, as other countries around the world also produce their own versions.
Glencadam Single Malt is transferred from ex-bourbon casks into the port pipes when it is Aged 10 Years, and left to mature for a further two years. This imparts flavours of red berries and rich, sweet notes into the whisky, while leaving behind a soft pink hue.