Speyside's seldom seen distillery
Posted 16 October 2017 / In Cragganmore
Cragganmore 12 year old
Cragganmore distillery has several distinctive features which mark it out against many other Speyside facilities – worm tubs, the use of lightly peated barley and spirit still which are both small and particularly flat (and also end up in worms). Cragganmore’s spirit stills are the only pair of its type in Scotland and are often singled out as responsible for the distinctive style of the whisky the distillery produces.
The distillery is currently owned by global powerhouse Diageo, and whilst the Cragganmore 12 year old represents the Speyside region within the Diageo ‘Classic Malts’ selection, much of the production is still used for blending. There are only two commonly seen official bottlings, a 12 year old, and a Distillery’s Edition (which is finished in Port Wood), though it did feature in the Special Releases limited edition line-ups in 20014 as a 25 year old and again in 2016 as a NAS entry. Despite the distillery’s heritage and well-regarded quality, with only two pairs of stills, production is fairly limited and thus, Cragganmore lacks the overall volumes to produce a wide variety of expressions.
Today we’re looking at the Classic Malt from Cragganmore – the 12 year old which is bottled at 40% ABV and available widely. You can find it on Master of Malt for £36.34 (as of writing).
Nose: Sweet, floral and very traditionally Speyside. Pangs of orange peels and citrus start us off on our journey and are joined by light apples and stone fruit. The sherried elements provide toffee and caramel and are supported by delicate florals – heather and a touch of menthol. There’s a hint of ginger cake, barley and roasted nuts here which provide some additional depth.
Taste: Good translation to the palate bringing across malty nuts and toffee alongside honey and just the slightest hint of barrel char and/or smoke. Relatively ‘chewy’ despite its 40% ABV and with a dash of damp earth and minerality which make for a welcome clean taste.
Finish: Short to medium in length and with a very pleasant gentle progressive fade. A touch of cask spicing and barley malts.
Cragganmore 12 year old flies the flag for Speyside within the Classic Malts selection and it does it pretty well. Whilst not overly complex or deep, everything works together well in what is an inoffensive middle-range daily-drinker of a whisky. A good choice if you’re looking for a Speyside without oodles of sherry which still is representative of the region’s overall style.
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