Caperdonich Distillery was originally built as “Glen Grant#2, a clone of the famous distillery right next to it. It never really managed to step out of its shadow and attract own attention. Mothballed since 2002 it was demolished in 2011 but some independent bottlers still have casks with Caperdonich Whisky in their stock and present releases from time to time.
|Information about the Distillery|
|Average tasting notes Tasting Notes||
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Caperdonich whisky can be described as light, fruity and a bit nutty. They aimed to copy the Glen Grant style but were in fact a little bit fruitier. There are not many original bottlings of Caperdonich Single Malt Whisky available, but independent bottlers offer releases from casks left in their stock from time to time.
There is for example a Caperdonich 1999/2013 in the Connoisseurs Choice Series of Gordon&MacPhail that was matured in refill sherry casks. It presents light tropical fruits, bananas and a hint of milk chocolate.
Another that was recently released is the Caperdonich 17 years 1995/2012 of Signatory. It is part of the unchill filtered series and limited to 731 bottles. It is well balanced with aromas of malts and nuts, a hint of menthol and sherry.
Caperdonich started whisky production in 1898. The goal was to imitate the Glen Grant style. The same water source was used as Caperdonich (Caperdonich Well) and the equivalent barley. Because the “Glen Grant#2” wasn`t regarded as a separate distillery by the tax office but as an extension of Glen Grant they had to fill it into casks at Glen Grant. A pipeline was used to connect the two distilleries and the spirit from Caperdonich was pumped through it. This changed in 1965 when production at Caperdonich was re-started after it had stopped for more than 60 years: New regulations had come up and it had to be regarded as an own distillery. So it was now branded as “Caperdonich” after its water source. It is the English pronunciation for the Gaelic “Tobar Domhnaich” and means “secret well”. 1.300.000 liter was the production capacity then. When Caperdonich was closed finally in 2002 the annual production capacity was about 2.000.000 liters.
When Caperdonich was closed a stainless steel mash tun with a cooper lid had been in use that could take 4.6 tons of mash.
8 wash backs had been in use at Caperdonich with a capacity of 23.000 liters each. There were installed when expansion took place in 1967. For 2 of them a new life begun when Wolfburn Distillery at Thurso was built where they are used as water tanks now.
The Pot Stills
In 1898 1 wash still and 1 spirit still began copying the Glen Grant style of whisky production. In 1967 a second pair was installed. The wash stills had a capacity of 11.500 liters each, the spirit stills of 7.000 liters. The new pot stills were steam heated – a very modern technology at that time.
When the distillery was demolished in 2011 one pair of stills was sold to Belgian Owl Distillery, the other to a new distillery in Falkirk
Some of the former Caperdonich warehouses are still used for cask maturation, some became storage space for Forsyth’s
Whisky was booming at the end of the 19th century and James Grant decides to expand: Caperdonich was founded but at that time it got the name Glen Grant #2 (Glen Grant No.2). It was built right behind the Glen Grant Distillery. But the whisky boom didn’t last long, a crash followed and already in 1902 Caperdonich was mothballed. As Caperdonich had been built to copy the whisky style of the Glen Grant it served as a kind of spare parts depot for its big brother.
When in the 1960s the demand for whisky increased again the owners of Caperdonich decided to restore the sleeping distillery and start production again. Meanwhile Grant Grant Distillers had merged with Glenlivet and some blending companies and had formed The Glenlivet Distillers Ltd. in 1972.
Modernization took place and already in the first year after re-opening in 1965 more than 1.3 mio liters of spirit were produced. Two years later capacity was increased by installing another pair of stills, from now on steam heated, and more wash backs. Production became automated to a high degree.
In 1977 Seagrams bought the distillery and most of the produced whisky was now used for their blends like Chivas Regal. In 2001 Pernod Ricard became the owner and mothballed Caperdonich one year later.
Big parts of the site were sold to Forsyths in 2010 who tore down the distillery buildings in 2011
No Caperdonich Distillery anymore means there is no visitor center either.