1988 Cambus 29 Year Old "Sovereign" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Grain Scotch Whisky (750ml) (Previously $100)

SKU #1380523

The shuttererd Cambus distillery had a spectacular history in the development of modern whisky and has had an equally important, albeit shorter and more recent, history in K&L's direct import program. At the dawn of the 20th century not everyone was in agreement that grain whisky produced on a Coffey still could actually be considered whisky. The extraordinary quality of Cambus was a key component in establishing that precedent which is a huge part of today's whisky trade. In fact, for many years, Cambus formed a large portion of Johnnie Walker Blue. Unfortunately for whisky fans everywhere, Cambus was closed by Diageo in 1993. As a result, every dram is a piece of history and one step closer to the extinction of a classic. With stocks dwindling, we are thrilled that we have yet again been able to grab a cask for your and our drinking pleasure. Nearly 30 years in barrel has resulted in this grain whisky being devilishly smooth. The soft fruit and surprisingly subtle barrel influence goes down much too easily.

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By: Andrew Tobin | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 5/6/2019 | Send Email
I can't tell you how surprised and excited I was at first opening this bottle. Cambus has a long history of amazing whisky, but unfortunately was closed in 1992, making examples of its work harder and harder to find these days. "Ghost" distilleries always make for interesting buys, and I'm always nervous to open the bottles, for fear of falling in love, and being unable to find more, but I couldn't resist this one. Just looking at the beautiful golden straw hue of this bottle makes you smile, and seeing how low proof it is for a cask strength is just as enticing. The nose is delicate, with notes of toffee, coconut, creme brulée, and vanilla. The palate is round and warm, with the toffee and vanilla opening up the front end. The finish is coconut, and a long, elegant custard, with notes of orange. What a truly beautiful bottle!

By: William Beare | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 2/22/2019 | Send Email
What a bright and lively nose for such an old-timer. There is a ton of tangy fruit and a spun-sugar sweetness hiding in the wings that come out quite a bit more noticeably after your nose has had a moment to adjust. There is also a savory edge to these candied qualities -- for which we can thank long and patient aging in refilled barrels (minimizing the influence of foreign flavors and preserving the personality of this unique whisky). Even the color shows restraint-- a pale gold the shade of honey-syrup. It is incredibly smooth on the palate, showing big ripe orange, and dries to a beautiful finish with mild, warming spices.

By: Neal Fischer | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 2/19/2019 | Send Email
Honey and grain notes dominate the nose at first which alternately reminds me of a light dessert but then also the over-sweet breakfast cereal I loved as a kid, such as Sugar Smacks. (Luckily, there's nothing so cloying going on here, but it's fascinating the ways that olfactory hues can trigger vivid memories of childhood.) Continuing to sniff down the trail, I get whiffs of creme brulee, light gooey caramels, and syrupy peaches... yet somehow the aromas display a certain lightness and restraint. Funny thing, that. On the palate there are flavors of vanilla cream, soft wood, and a bit of leather along with some gentle citrus notes. The flavors keep coming back to the grain and the honey though. And I keep getting sweet reminders of my childhood and Saturday morning breakfast cereal. Funny thing, that.

By: David Othenin-Girard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 2/17/2019 | Send Email
I often talk about how Single Grain shouldn't be seen as some type of Single Malt light or an offshoot of bourbon, but should really be treated as a stand-alone category that should be judge on its own merits. That's why we thought it was so important to offer a diverse selection of well aged grain at reasonable prices. We've managed to amass a collection of nearly ever active grain distillery (save for Girvan) along with several ghost distillers all in the $100 range and absolutely delicious. Anybody who can wrap their brains and palates around the subtle complexities of grain whisky should consider amassing as many of these awesome examples as they can afford, not only for the exquisite learning experience, but simply because we're not sure when we'll have this kind of broad access and outrageous pricing again. This Cambus is probably the friendliest of the set. Having seen significant evaporation in it's nearly 30 years, the bottle is light on its feet, but no slouch. Expect a head blast of shaved coconut and spiced apple. The palate is easy and round with a tiny salinity that keeps it exciting. Long and easy, the subtle coconut continues but brings in a sweet taffy and caramel covered nougat. I hate to say "a beginners grain" because I don't want to scare away the initiated, but this one will pass nearly anyone's smell test.

By: Andrew Whiteley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 2/15/2019 | Send Email
The very first thing you notice about this 29 year old bottling is how low the cask strength proof is. Just 44.6%, outstandingly smooth and just a little too inviting. Toffee and vanilla custard stand out on the palate along with a gentle tropical fruit. The mix of flaky pastry crust and baked stone fruits is particularly alluring. A sprinkle shredded coconut rounds out the tropical note on the finish. If you've been a fan of Johnnie Blue for a long time this will feel like meeting an old friend.

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Alcohol Content (%): 44.6