Category Archives: Caledonian (closed 1988)

Caledonian 1987 28-year-old

Bought: Whisky Broker, 4th February 2016

Ratings:
95/100 – Whisky Bible 2017
89.07/100 – Whiskybase (from 17 member votes)

The Caledonian distillery closed in 1988, which makes it quite collectable even for a single grain producer. Having closed 28 years ago, anything bottled now is going to be close to or over 30 years old, and generally pretty tasty. Dumbarton distillery, also single grain, closed more recently in 2002 and I narrowly missed a 25-year-old bottling last year that sold for £110. So how much would you pay for a rarer Caledonian 28yo that gets great reviews on Whiskybase? £150? £170 maybe? As I write this it’s still available on the Whisky Broker’s website for £60, such is the goodness of some independent bottlers. It’s nice to see that the greed currently rife in the whisky industry hasn’t poisoned everywhere. I would have bought two bottles if I weren’t constantly after other things.

Over 89/100 on Whiskybase from 17 member votes is a fantastic score. One voter who I recognise as a regular taster and contributor to the website leaves these tasting notes:

Nose: Sweet with a lot of vanilla. Lime, fresh leaves, caramel, strawberry and apple. With water more citrus.
Taste: A typical grain profile, but in a sweet and smooth sense. Vanilla, lemon, caramel, peach, strawberry, tonic and gentle spice. Water adds a salty touch.
Finish: Vanilla, lime, tonic, caramel, cinnamon and spice.
Comments: I’m not very much into grains, but this one has a very nice profile.

Caledonian 1987 28yo 70cl

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Caledonian ‘Clan Denny’ 1965 45-year-old

Bought: English Whisky Company, 29th September 2015

Ratings:
94/100 – Whisky Bible 2015
88/100 – Whiskybase (average from 8 member votes)

The Caledonian distillery (or ‘The Cally’ as it was informally known) was closed in 1988 (or 1987 depending where you look) with a significant amount of it demolished in 1997. Since it overlooks Haymarket Train Station in Edinburgh the 20-acre distillery was a prime location for residential homes, which it became. Thankfully parts of the old distillery were Grade B listed so a large extent of the original façade has been retained. Perhaps the next time I travel down to Edinburgh from Aberdeen I’ll get off at Haymarket to have a look.

Jim Murray in his Whisky Bible 2015 scores this vintage Caledonian single grain 94/100 which classifies it as a “superstar whisky that gives us all a reason to live”. In his review he says “anyone who managed to get their hands on the very oldest maturing stock of Barton bourbon from twenty years ago (and there were very few of us who managed it) will recognise it immediately. The similarities are uncanny.”

88/100 on Whiskybase is the sort of mark on there that you’d expect to see for an amazing single malt from Islay. One reviewer who scores it 90/100 says “sweeter, and certainly simpler than a single malt of similar age, but this is a really spectacular old grain whisky. Rich tropical fruit flavors, butterscotch, coconut and beautifully integrated old wood. Not even a hint of bitterness. Wish I had more of this.”

Caledonian 1965 45yo 70cl