What Craigellachie say:
This travel retail exclusive Craigellachie was released last year. This was the first release of a series of single malts released by the distillery and forms part of several releases by John Dewar & Sons, part of the Bacardi group. There are several distilleries launching single malts under the heading The Last Great Malts, which includes Craigellachie, Aberfeldy, Aultmore, Macduff and Royal Brackla, all distilleries owend by the Barcardi Group.
What I say
It’s refreshing that a large group, with a well selling existing portfolio have decided to put out single malt age statement whisky in its own right, and having tried this series of malts whilst still in the development stage, it’s exciting to see what the 19yo has to offer. It’s travel retail exclusive, bottled at 46% and at a cost of £100.
This is immediately fruity, with crisp sour green apples and plenty of lemon zest. Things soon take a trip to the tropics with dried mango and dried pineapple ramping up the fruity intensity.
There’s a sweet barley note, not dissimilar to Robinson’s Barley Water, and a warming hint of a little fresh ginger bringing a much needed spicy note.
There is a vegetal richness to this as it really opens up, think freshly dug cabbages still covered in soil, it’s not entirely unpleasant and adds a further dimension and hidden complexity to an otherwise very sweet nose.
First up is a soft buttery nuttiness with a rich pecan pastry base. There’s an initial creaminess of vanilla fudge which coats the mouth and teases out some floral notes, bluebells in springtime combine with a fresh damp moss note that really lifts this making the whisky feel very “green” and slightly “spirited”.
An unexpected sharp sherbet lemon note cuts in, bringing with it the mango and pineapple from the nose, no longer dried and sharp, but now fresh and has a mouthwatering sweetness to it.
The ginger from the palate appears and is joined by some cinnamon, giving a gentle heat, more of a slight tingle than intense heat and this is soon followed up with some burnt match sulphur which seems somewhat out of place.
A medium finish on this one, which, after the initial creamy sweetness, becomes richer with the heavier spice and fruit, fighting with the lighter floral and orchard fruit notes.
The touch of sulphur is misplaced in my opinion however there is no doubt that this is an interesting dram. As it dries out to finish the spices and a touch of oak get a chance to really come to the fore which would make a real difference if it were more dominant throughout. It’s certainly interesting, but for me, isn’t quite right or worth the price tag.
Kirsty Clarke (@KirstyClarke29)