Review #96: Cameronbridge 1995/2013 Signatory
70cl, 43% ABV, natural colour, non-chill-filtered
Distillery: Cameronbridge Distillery, Fife, Lowlands, Scotland
Producer: Signatory Vintage Scotch Whisky Co.
Cameronbridge distillery was opened in 1824, and in 1930 was the first distillery in Scotland to feature an early version of a column still, as invented by Robert Stein. Ever since then, the distillery exclusively produces grain whisky distilled in continuous stills, although nowadays these are the more modern and efficient Coffey stills. Owned by Diageo, it produces grain whisky for a lot of blended whisky brands, including Johnnie Walker, Bell’s, J&B and Black & White. With an annual production of over 120 million litres of grain whisky and white spirit for brands like Smirnoff vodka, Tanqueray and Gordon’s gin, Cameronbridge is the largest industrial distillery plant in Europe. There is one official whisky bottling, the non-age-statement Cameron Brig Single Grain.
The Cameronbridge 1995/2013 is a release by independent bottler Signatory Vintage and part of their Single Grain Collection. It was distilled on 31 January 1995 and bottled on 24 October 2013 which makes it an 18yo whisky. There is no information available on the type of grain being used, but according to a number of sources the predominant ingredient at Cameronbridge is wheat, as it yields the largest amount of spirit. There is also no information from the bottler on the type or the number of casks used for maturation, but deducting from the age and (natural!) colour as well as the tasting notes below, these were most likely relatively inert re-fill bourbon casks.
Nose: Icing sugar, floral honey, citrus, flint, some buttery popcorn and a hint of cardboard.
Palate: Honey sweet and minerally with vanilla, fruit and a noticeable sour note.
Finish: Medium short and sweet, grainy, with hardly any development.
Verdict: Given the age of the whisky, there is very little flavour and complexity, the light colour would suggest that there was very little interaction with the cask. Overall quite disappointing, I’m planning on reviewing the official bottling “Cameron Brig” at some point, in order to determine if this whisky is in fact representative of the distillery or if this was just a bad cask.