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Review

Cadenhead Sloe Gin

Distillery

Wm Cadenhead Ltd. (J & A Mitchell & Co Ltd.), William Cadenhead Distillery, Campbeltown, Argyll, Scotland, UK.

Website

William Cadenhead

History

The company was founded in Aberdeen (its administrative office is still there) by George Duncan in 1842 and started out as importers, bottlers and wholesalers. Poet and Brother-in-law William Cadenhead joined the business in 1852 and he acquired the company (renaming it after himself), when George Duncan died in 1858. William Cadenhead died in 1904 and was succeeded by his nephew Robert Duthie, who developed the business into producers of Whisky and Rum. Robert Duthie was a bachelor and when he died in 1931 the business was passed to his two sisters. They entrusted the business to a long-term employee, Ann Oliver, who unfortunately was a poor overall manager and the business slowly declined.

In 1972 the business faced liquidation and sold off most of it’s stock, the biggest wine and spirits sale ever held in Great Britain, to cover its liabilities. The premises, equipments, brands etc were sold to J & A Mitchell & Co Ltd., owners of one of Scotland's oldest distilleries, Springbank Distillery. Mitchell’s had the company incorporated and kept the William Cadenhead name.

Production

With most other Sloes presently bottled under 30% ABV (and usually classified as liqueurs), Cadenhead's high proof (46% ABV) clearly puts the Gin back in Sloe. Produced using real Sloeberries, this Gin has also had a brief maturation period in oak casks to add complexity.

This light yellow/pink colored Gin is presented in a tall clear rectangular bottle with a large label. At the top in clear writing is “Cadenhead’s Sloe Gin” and in the middle is a picture of a cluster of sloeberries.

Category

Flavored Gin - Sloe.

Alcohol By Volume (ABV)

46% (92 Proof).

Price Range

$$$. Not available in the USA and has only limited availability in Europe (with it only distributed in a few select countries). We have been unable to identify a suitable supplier able to ship to the USA.

Botanicals

Unknown but includes juniper berries and sloeberries. The base Gin, we’re guessing, is probably Cadenhead Old Raj (Red Label) also produced at 92 proof. If this guess is correct it uses 9 botanicals (10 counting the sloeberries) namely: almond powder, angelica root, cassia bark, coriander seeds, juniper berries, lemon peel, orange peel, orris root and saffron.

Name

Named after one of the producers’ early owners, William Cadenhead, and the key botanical flavoring.

Tasting Notes

On the nose is woody juniper with dark fruit berry and floral notes. On the palate this semi-sweet spirit has a clear Gin taste (juniper) with spice and red fruit berries. On the close is red fruit with a long tart and peppery finish. A nicely balanced Gin.

This is a Gin in every sense of the word and not a syrupy sweet liqueur like most other Sloe Gins. Perhaps the best description of this is: Gin with just a hint of sloe berry flavor.

Unfortunately we have not been able to taste this extensively and cannot review how this performs in mixed drinks. However, we can make an informed guess in expecting it to be more like a Gin. Certainly for all Sloe Gin drinks this will not be at the top of their list but for non-sloe Gin drinkers this will be a surprising experience of taste and even an adventure. 

Awards & Accolades

Unknown.



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