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Whisky Reviews

Cadenhead Heaven Hill 20, WLW 2016


Review #4: Cadenhead's 175th Anniversary Heaven Hill 20 years old (15 September)

Nose: morning dew on grass, polished wood, melange of savoury spices (think fresh coriander) and baking spices, honey, short crust, vanilla. First impressions evoked the image of an idllyic household in the countryside. For what it is worth, I have never been to the countryside, nor is this geographical delineation relevant to my country. Spices started to dominate after some time out in the air, to the extent I would have guessed it to be a rye if I had not known better.

Palate: oak forward. The wood is accompanied at the front by orange, tannic black tea, licorice and grass jelly. The second wave of flavours began with some kind of savoury-sweet pastry, slowly morphing into peanut butter, before ending with a hint of candied ginger. Extremely complex, though somewhat lacking in intensity. Mouthfeel was not as substantial as I would like it to be.

Finish: the peanut butter note evolved into something that tasted like unsweetened chocolate. This stayed for a moderately long time.

Score: 16/20



Review #5: William Larue Weller 2016 (15 September)

Nose: cherry lozenge, cinnamon, malt and nuts, icing sugar.

Palate: hot hot hot! Sour apple, strawberry, currants, followed by oak char and a bit of oak spice. This has the flavour intensity I wished the Cadenhead could muster. It was less dry and tannic than the Cadenhead.

Finish: oak char, cream, candied orange peel, the apple comes back with accompanying floral notes. This lingers for a long time.

Score: 14/20


The Cadenhead has notes I would not have expected a bourbon to have, and although the sum was not more than it parts, it is the clear winner here in terms of complexity and funkiness. The tannins in the Cadenhead was a bit too much for me given that it was not as mouth-filling as the WLW. In contrast, the WLW was simple but delivered what it has in stronger bursts, culminating in a much longer finish. I would prefer the oak to be more integrated into the other flavours, and the oak char to manifest itself in a more palatable manner, eg. a combination of toffee or chocolate notes.


Image Courtesy of u/zoorado