A 14 year old Cragganmore that has been matured for 12 years in an ex-bourbon hogshead before being finished in a 1st fill ex-PX hogshead. Spicy & Dry profile.
Nose: Fruits first - oranges and toffee-dripped apples, then swiftly onto earthiness - soils and hay. Then, grassiness from reeds and flax, before finally hitting a wall of PX influence - raisins, dates, figs, chocolate and leather. Quite a lot going on here. A few drops of water adds yet more complexity – icing sugar as well as some minerality - wet slate and granite.
Taste: Part sweet, part sour. Fresh honey and reduced berries, then sour cherries and plums, old leather shoes and an oddly dirty aroma – garage spray paint?! In the background some bready and yeast flavours. Water offers a great improvement to the palate, adding sweetness and juicier fruit elements (bananas and lemons) as well as some pleasant spicing in the form of ginger.
Finish: Medium to long, quite drying and delivering both pepper and ginger.
An unusual Cragganmore that is highly flavoursome and packed full of complexity. Alas, it doesn’t feel completely cohesive with the ex-bourbon maturation and PX finish both fighting for attention (the PX winning) which results in a host of aromas and flavours that whilst interesting, don’t quite gel together for me. Sherry-fans will probably find it of interest, but I'd probably of much rather just had a straight-up 14 year old ex-bourbon myself.