When we found our cask of Caperdonich 18 year old whisky over a year ago in Glasgow, David and I were super pumped. The price was right, the whisky was good, the story was tragic, and the barrel was ours. Founded in 1897 by James Grant, the owner of Glen Grant distillery, Caperdonich was located just a few hundred meters from Glen Grant itself. I say "was" because Caperdonich distillery was mothballed in 2002 and completely bulldozed just a few years ago in 2010. Now it's completely gone forever, never to return. What was once the sister distillery to Glen Grant, actually connected underground by a pipeline, is now just a pile of rubble. There wasn't much of an outcry when it happened. There weren't many tears. Caperdonich simply faded into darkness without much of a flurry. And isn't that what many of us fear in life? That our passing will happen without much significance? What meaning did we have? Did anyone care about what we accomplished?
David and I were determined to celebrate Caperdonich's significance. The distillery made solid Highland whisky for many years. No frills or fancy flavors, just Scotch for people who like Scotch. Caperdonich distillery had its fans. Our friend Mark who used to work for Duncan Taylor was perhaps the biggest. He snuck into the property one last time to have a dram on the roof before it was scheduled for demolition. Whisky veteran Serge from WhiskyFun.com ranks Caperdonich highly in his own single malt hierarchy, alongside Ardbeg, Laphroaig, and Benriach in terms of quality. When we found the 18 year old cask from Sovereign -- with its light vanilla, hints of lemon and oil, and delicious malty finish -- we thought we had found something our customers would really gravitate towards. However, more than a year later, we're still burdened with more than 100 bottles of our Caperdonich barrel and with more whisky slated for an immanent arrival. Slow sales are how the K&L automated sales machine flags lagging products for close out. It's our own internal form of termination. In this case, a second demolition for the Caperdonich name.
Yesterday this computer program singled out our Caperdonich 18 year old single barrel whisky as a product in need of deletion. The machine decided we needed to cut our losses and move on, much like Pernod Ricard decided a decade ago concerning the distillery. Caperdonich was just not meant to exist it seems. That light, easy, Highland style just doesn't cut the mustard these days. People want big peat, or big sherry, or something that simply pops now. Now instead of a $125 dollar exclusive whisky of proud provenance and the utmost quality, our Caperdonich cask has been scheduled for close-out: it's now a $73 whisky that needs to be removed from K&L's inventory. But such is life for some whiskies and some distilleries. They never find their mark. They never reach the recognition that some feel they rightly deserve. They fall into darkness and life moves on. On to new adventures at new distilleries with new and exciting whiskies.
Rest easy Caperdonich. We will pour a little single malt out for you.