cameronbridge

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.

Further reviews:

Cameron Brig (40 %)

Cameron Brig fra Cameronbridge-destilleriet, Skottlands eldste og største graindestilleri (og det første som destillerte grainwhisky i kolonneapparater), er en forholdsvis billig single grain, og en av svært få skotske single grain-tapninger som kommer fra destilleriets egen eier (i dette tilfellet Diageo). Akkurat denne tapningen ble erstattet av Haig Club Single Grain i juli i år, en litt mer «flashy» tapning som attpåtil promoteres av David Beckham.

På nesen fant jeg vanilje, sitrus, litt aceton, aprikos og hint av plommevin og furunål. Litt ginaktig. Smaken var søt, med litt eiketre, vanilje og et hint av aske. Litt oljete munnfølelse. Avslutningen var middels lang, med litt krydder og eiketre, vanilje, litt pære, sitrus og røde epler. Halvtørr. Med noen få dråper vann kom det til noe toffee på nesen, i tillegg til noe honning. Smaken ble litt fyldigere, med toffee og eiketre. Avslutningen ble søtere og litt lengre.

Et lett og utvilsomt vellaget destillat som virker ganske ung og røff. Det er uansett en interessant whisky å smake, særlig med tanke på å forstå hvor de forskjellige luktene og smakene i en blend kommer fra. Det er ikke så veldig mye ung single grain jeg har vært veldig begeistret for, og dette var vel heller ingen storslagen opplevelse, men absolutt blant de bedre unge grainwhiskyene jeg har vært borti så langt.

Karakter: 76/100

Bilde fra The Whisky Exchange

Review #113: Cameron Brig

70cl, 40% ABV, E150a, chill-filtered
Producer: Cameronbridge Distillery, Fife, Lowlands, Scotland
Owner: Diageo Plc

Earlier this year, I reviewed a bottle of Cameronbridge whisky from Signatory and promised to follow it up with a review of an official bottling from Cameronbridge distillery called Cameron Brig. Until recently this was in fact the only official bottling, but since early last year Cameron Brig has a sibling, when Diageo launched Haig Club, a more premium single grain whisky from the Cameronbridge distillery. As stated before, Cameronbridge produces only grain whisky, made from 90% wheat and 10% malted barley and distilled in column stills. Most other interesting things that can be said about the distillery have already been mentioned in the previous review, so without further ado, here are the tasting notes.

Compared to the Signatory bottling - which was an 18yo bottled at 43% ABV and natural colour - Cameron Brig is much, much younger, I would in fact be surprised if it is much older than the legally required 3 years. It is bottled at standard 40% ABV and, judging from the orange tinge, contains a sizeable amount of E150a caramel colourant. 

Nose: Soft with corn syrup, cooking oil, vanilla, flinty minerals, cardboard as well as something faintly metallic.
Palate: Sweet and smooth, some nondescript fruit, cereal and vanilla.
Finish: Short, sweet and slightly hot, with harsher alcohol and some bitter, almost acrid notes.
Verdict: Although generally considered a good point of reference and solid example for single grain whiskies, it feels like Cameron Brig is more of educational value than being enjoyable. It is young, slightly sharp, sweet and undefined with little discernible complexity. Compared to the Signatory bottling there is certainly a lot of similarity, although side by side, the 18yo Signatory is less harsh and easier drinkable than the Cameron Brig. 

Further reads: