[Review] Cadée Distillery - Sample Set

The Cadée Distillery, have you ever heard of it before? I hadn't until they got in touch with me via Instagram a few weeks ago. Being French, the first thing I noticed was the accent in the name and thought it could be a new French distillery but a quick online search took me across the pond to the USA and more particularly to the Island of Whidbey in the state of Washington. A little more research showed me that Cadée isn't linked to France but instead the Gaelic word for 'pure' and that the distillery was opened in 2015 by Colin Campbell, a Scotsman passionate about whisky.

So it's a young distillery, but what do they produce? They have a small range of products with two Bourbons, two Rye whiskeys and one American whiskey. They also produce some gin and some vodka, so actually not such a small range for a 5 year-old distillery. The distillery started with the Bourbons and Ryes before adding the American whiskey to their range in 2018. For both Bourbons and Ryes, they have a standard version (straight Bourbon and straight Rye) and a version which has been aged for about 4 years before being finished for a further 12 months or so in 20 year-old French oak Ruby Port barrels. The Bourbon is called Deceptivus and is bottled at 42.5%, the Rye is called Cascadia and is bottled at 43.5%. As far as their American whisky is concerned (named after the Greek mythological Gorgon Medusa) it is a 5 year-old straight Bourbon which has been further aged for 18 months in 10 year-old Madeira barrels, and bottled at 40%. These three are the three we are going to have a look at in more detail.

Being located on an island and with a latitude similar to that of Scotland, the distillery prides itself on producing 'Exceptional Maritime Whiskeys' so I am anticipating some fresh sea breeze coming my way!

Let's start with the newest release from Cadée and also the lowest abv one: Medusa, 40%

Nose: Soft and sweet with toffee and brown sugar before spices start coming through. Some fruity notes too, dark cherries, candied oranges, chocolate, more caramel (some French Carambar sweets) and hints of maple bacon. That's a great start!

Palate: At first the mouthfeel feels a little thin but flavours develop nicely. There is some sweetness but it is not as dark as I was expecting first. Wet oak, vanilla, spices, fresh cereal, some bitter/not fully ripe cherries, almond, cedar and some hints of sea salt.

Finish: Some drying oak notes here, hints of cinnamon and the cherries have now ripen! There is something close to a Cognac in my mind. Lasting and fruity.

Let's continue with Cadée's Bourbon: Deceptivus, 42.5%

Nose: Fresh and herby, cooked Swiss chard leaves (probably the strangest note I've ever come up with!) light caramel, some sea air, spices too. It is definitely greener and not as sweet as Medusa. The Port is not that obvious on the nose.

Palate: Sweeter than the nose, rich, chewy with some dark fruit and red fruit, woody notes (oak but also some pine), honey, vanilla, hints of aniseed, spices and a little tannin.

Finish: Oak and cherries here again, still some Cognac elements and a some spices too. Different from Medusa but very enjoyable.

Third and last sample for today, the Rye called Cascadia, bottled at 43.5%

Nose: The first thing I get is dill. It is fresh with some resin notes too, hints of spices, some creamy seafood (is that because of the dill?!), a little sweetness and some brine too.

Palate: Sweet and spicy, ginger biscuits/candied ginger, fresh fruit (redcurrant, under-ripe strawberries) After a few sips, more caramel, hints of mint, herbal and a little tannic too (is that a bit of Port influence...?) Very fragrant.

Finish: Drying and spicy with some oak and hints of cherries (which seems to be a running theme across the 3 bottles), creamy freshly cooked spinach

I love discovering new distilleries and trying new whisky particularly when the philosophy behind them is one of authenticity and quality. I am definitely more of a Scotch person but I have started to explore more American whiskey/Bourbon/Rye lately and nothing really compared to these three from Cadée. Even between them they are so different but being able to try Madeira and Port finished Bourbon and Rye was a truly enjoyable experience.
Now the big question, which one did I prefer?
As I said, the three of them bring something different to the table so they are hard to compare but I guess if I had to reach for one now, the Medusa would have a slight edge...

Thank you to the Cadée Distillery and Cyrus in particular for the samples.

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