Archives for posts with tag: Calvados

Cambeltown was the whiskycapital in UK in the early 20th-century with about 37 distilleries bringing home loads of money to the area. But as almost all good things it came to and end. The American prohibition was a big reason that only 2 distilleries survived. Glen Scotia and Springbank.

The distillerysb has been up and running since 1828 in Cambeltown, located on the Kintyre peninsula. Springbank is a classic whisky-distillery that almost everyone has heard of. They also make two other brands of malt whisky – Longrow which is quite peated and Hazelburn which is unpeated.


I had the opportunity to meet Frank McHardy, a man with over 50 yrs in the business and the representative of Springbank when I was working at my first whiskyfair. I was nervous and he helped me out. A very nice and good looking man so he nicked a piece of my heart. I like it when someone who has so much knowledge and experience still can be so humble!

My Impression of Springbank was good but since I had not tasted much of the range I grabbed the  opportunity to get my hands on some samples.

I will not give tastenotes for them all. Actually I did write it down while tasting but I don´t think you will enjoy reading them ……IMG_1929

What I will give you is a “over all” impression of Springbank – based on following lineup: CV, 10 yo, 12 yo, 15 yo, 18 yo, Gaja Barolo Wood Expression, Calvados Wood Expression.IMG_1927

I find the house style of Springbank  sweet, fullbodied, and malty with an underlying tone of peatsmoke. You can find vanilla and fruit in all of them but I find the 10 yo more salty and less fruity than the others. The 12 yo which is cask strenght has a some liquorice/chilli sting but that might come from the high ABV.

This time I rated the 15 yo as the best with the roundness of the body carrying all different tastes like rum raisins, fruit cocktail, wine and sweetness.

It was followed by the Gaja Barolo woodfinish that was almost as fullbodied but only 9 yrs old.

Third place went to the 18 yo which has the “old whisky notes” in it. It has probably some older sherrycasks in the mix………

The most exciting one was the Calvados wood Finish. The wCdLloggahisky spent 6 years in refill bourboncasks and then 6 years in Calvados casks from Christian Drouin. That makes me extra curious since I have tried many of Christian Drouins products and will spend a few days at the Coeur de Lion estate in Normandy this spring, to learn more about Calvados. It didn´t match the Gaja Barolo last night but when I got to try a sample of it today it was so much more….. Came to the conclusion with some friends who also got their hands on this rare bottle that it need some air to come to its full potential!!!!Springbank-5-stills

I think Springbank will be a distillery I will keep a closer eye on from now on. I did really enjoy the Hazelburn Sauternes Wood Finish and the” Smuggle Whisky bottlings” Rundlets and Kilderkins. So yes, Springbank is a distillery worth to taste and follow. And that it is family owned and make their whisky as they always had – some say the Springbank distillery is a functional museum – doesn´t make it less interesting.

A new distillery opened in Cambeltown in 2004. Its called Glengyle and their single malt is called Kilkerran.There will never be 37 distilleries in Cambeltown again but now there are 3 and Cambeltown is  a whiskyregion to count with again.

So what is Calvados?CdLlogga

I´m sure you can look that up somewhere on the internet to find the scientific explanation if that’s what you want.

For me it was a total black hole, where I didn´t want to go until I had a very brief encounter with Christian!  And it wasn´t any Christian I had the fortune to stumble across. It was the King of Calvados – Christianestate Drouin,from the Coeur de Lion estate in Normandie.

Actually I was at my first whisky fair – Stockholm Beer & Whisky – in September 2012. A bit shaky and quite nervous because I had never been behind the counter in a whisky fair before. I chose the worst fair to start with – well at least the most busy one. And not enough that we had more than 250 different whiskies to serve, we also had some Calvados……. And the King of Calvados himself to present it…by my side….and I had only tasted Calvados one or two times before (and I didn´t like it).

When we got presented I told him the truth (or half of itChristian, I didn´t mention that I didn´t like Calvados) that I had no knowledge about Calvados what so ever! He kindly took me in and gave me a tasting and a speedlesson of his Calvadosrange. I was amazed. Well not so much about the Blanche the Normandie – which I found to be “a white dog” – but a bit more tasty! Blanche de Normandie is an appelbrandy.

Then Christian Drouin took a bottle, served me a sip and I was lost. The Wow-factor went to through the roof. I had no idea what I had in my glass but it knocked my hat off! It was sooooo gooood! What I just had tasted was some kind of celebration bottling. No longer available and very expensive. But if you want to teach someone about what Calvados should taste like – don´t give them the cheap factory stuff – give them a Coeur de Lion Vintage!

IMG_0731Since then I´ve had the opportunity to taste some more Calvados – some which I like – others not my favourites. One of my Calvados-teachers is Richard Fransson from Steninge Ädla. He gave me a lovely tasting of some different Calvados bottlings he had come across visiting Normandie and Coeur de Lion estate/distillery so I wasn´t a total ignorant when The Prince of Calvados – Guillaume Drouin, visited my tastingleader course with 10 different bottlings from Coeur de Lion.(YES 10).

I´m not going to tell you all about the Calvados I got to try. Just want to show you the essence of the tasting. Heres the lineup:IMG_0724

Pommeau de Normandie  –  Blanche de Normandie

Coeur de Lion Selection  –         Coeur de Lion Vsop

Coeur de Lion Hors d´ague  –  Coeur de Lion Vintage 1993

Coeur de Lion Vintage 1989  –  Coeur de Lion Vintage 1986

Coeur de Lion Vintage 1970  –  Coeur de Lion Vintage 1962

Guillaume was talking about the taste ”Rancio” wich is a taste you find in well matured Congnac and its also a discription of a flavour you find in fortified wine.I´m a fan of Sherrycaskmatured spirit BUT the worst Whiskies I have had has been sherrycask matured. And they all had this “Rancio” taste. Probably a leftover from the fortified wine – the sherry . If it get overhand it will give the distillate a bad taste of mushrooms and rancid butter (as mentioned in my blogpost “the advent calendars).

So when we had to vote for our favourites I liked 1989 and 1962 the most. I think 1970 and 1986 was had too much of the Rancio. I also liked the Pommeau de Normadie a lot. It is a 17% aperitif made of applejuice mixed with calvados before fermentation and then aged in oakcasks. I highly recommend it. Especially if you have friends who doesnt appriciate the high ABV of distilled spirit.

If you want to try some nice Calvdos go for the Coeur de Lion range from Christian Drouin. I´m loking forward to give some nice Calvadostastings and I can assure that I´ll start with the Pommeu de Normandie and I definitely will try my best to get two vintages, one with “rancio” and one without…..just to let you choose foryourself wich one to love –

Because you will love the Coeur De Lion.


So what is Calvados? Shortly it is “distilled cider” out of apples or pears matured in oakcasks, the same way whisky is “disitilled beer” matured in oak casks. – Google it if you want to know more! or for the Swedish market