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W.M. Cadenhead's: Independent Bottlers

Cadenhead's was established in 1842 and is Scotland's oldest independent bottler, today owned by J & A Mitchell, which also owns the Springbank distillery.

Through its many years of existence Cadenhead’s has specialised in single cask whiskies, which they bottle un-chill-filtered and without colouring.

The Brown Dumpy bottles and the various single cask bottlings that Cadenhead's produced between the 1980s and 1990s are the old and rare benchmarks from this firm. Here you’ll find our in-depth look at both these series of whiskies.

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Cadenhead's: Dumpy Series

The squat brown glass bottle with the original font on a black label is the signature of Cadenhead’s in the 1970s and 1980s.

This series was very collectible and the time and is still very collectible today. This enduring appeal is chiefly because almost every distillery in Scotland was bottled under this series, which was ceased – much to fan’s chagrin – in 1991.

Bottled either at 45.7% or 46%, they were predominantly available in the UK, but some very special and rare batches were created for different international markets such as the US and Japan.

Here is a selection of both the rarest and the ones we love the most.

Ardbeg 12 Year Old / Bot.1970s

Ardbeg 12 Year Old Bot.1970s

Springbank 1950 / 30 Year Old

1950 Springbank 30 Year Old

Highland Park 1957 / 21 Year Old

1957 Highland Park 21 Year Old

1966 Littlemill 17 Year Old

Laphroaig 1967

1967 Laphroaig 16 Year Old

Cadenhead's: The 1960s Era

The bottles preceding the dumpy series were in a much more conventional shape, but had labels that were very similar to those later seen on the brown dumpy bottles.

These 1960s bottles are hardly seen on the secondary market today. One example is the Cadenhead’s bottling of Laphroaig 12 Year Old. The label of this Cadenhead’s-bottled whisky states that it is "guaranteed over 12YO", meaning the whisky in the bottle would have been, more than likely, Laphroaig distilled in the 1940s – a real piece of whisky history!

Here are some of the rarest examples we have from our archive:

Glenrothes-Glenlivet 10 Year Old / Bot.1960s

Glenrothes-Glenlivet 10 Year Old Bot.1960s

Old Pulteney / 85 Proof / Bot.1960s

Old Pulteney 85 Proof Bot.1960s

Laphroaig Over 12 Years Old / Bot.1960s

Laphroaig Over 12 Year Old Bot.1960s

Cadenhead's: The Authentic Collection

Created in 1991 to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the company, this series is still ongoing.

As with many of this independent bottler’s other whiskies, the fact that these are from single casks, have no added colouring, are not chill-filtered and are bottled at cask strength has made them true collector’s items.

Below we have selected some particular bottlings to demonstrate their rarity and to illustrate how their packaging changed over time.

Convalmore 1962 / 31 Year Old / Authentic Collection

1962 Convalmore 31 Year Old Authentic Collection

Springbank 1963 / 31 Year Old / Authentic Collection

1963 Springbank 31 Year Old Authentic Collection

Kinclaith 1965 / 24 Year Old / Authentic Collection

1965 Kinclaith 24 Year Old Authentic Collection

Balblair 1965 / 26 Year Old / Authentic Collection

1965 Balblair 26 Year Old Authentic Collection

Glenrothes 1971 / 20 Year Old / Authentic Collection

1971 Glenrothes 20 Year Old Authentic Collection

Cadenhead's: Cask Strength Distillery Label Series

This is another series from Cadenhead's that will remain in the old and rare books forever.

The trademark of these amazing whiskies is a very minimal yet artistic label. The white background resembles a canvas, on which is a hand-drawn painting of the distillery whose single cask has been bottled for the series.

Not only is the labelling exquisite but so is the whisky within, which benefits from no added colour, no chill-filtration and being bottled at cask strength.

Some of the best and rarest expressions are featured below.

Oban 1963

1963 Oban

Coal Ila 1978

1978 Coal Ila

Lagavulin 1978

1978 Lagavulin

Springbank 1979

1979 Springbank