SMWS 44.115 Cabinet of curiosities

Posted 02 September 2019 by Matt / In Craigellachie
The Dramble reviews SMWS 44.115 Cabinet of curiosities

Bottle Name: 44.115 Cabinet of curiosities

ABV: 60.8%
Distillery: Craigellachie
Bottler: Scotch Malt Whisky Society
Flavour Profile: Oily & coastal
Region: Speyside Age: 12

An interestingly categorised (given the distinctively un-coastal location) Craigellachie that’s slumbered in a refill ex-bourbon barrel for 12 years.

Nose: Starting in a DIY store in the adhesives aisle – sealants, waxes and resins – before heading to the cobbler for a quick boot polish. Then, it’s off to the greengrocer to acquire some potatoes for boiling, whilst stopping off at the café for some slices of buttered toast. A final sojourn to a spice market for chilli flakes and cayenne pepper is interrupted by a visit to the coast where the aromas of chalk, shale and cleaved rocks provide a maritime kick. What?! A truly eclectic selection offering true depth. Dilution rather normalises – apples and guava with damp leaves and charred cask ends – all very pleasant, but I certainly preferred the confident madness this offered near.

Taste: The arrival reinforces the weight and texture of this distillate – thick, fatty and resinous. Salinity kicks in first, then more buttered toast. Tart unripe pineapple chunks are joined by fizzing homemade lemonade whilst pressed lavender flowers sit with chilli flakes and dry savoury biscuits. Still wild, just not quite as cohesive as the nose. Water sharpens things up considerably – tartness abound – alongside a good twist of salt and pepper seasoning.

Finish: Medium in length with shale and coal sitting with sunflower oil, salinity and fading chilli.

This Craigellachie is big, intense and wholly fascinating – its profile is fundamentally at odds which the distillery location and natural spirit style – and it’s all the better for it. Whilst the selection of aromas and flavours seem haphazard, they work (particularly on the nose) together in an unconventional harmony. It’s therefore such a shame that dilution breaks down this strange cohesiveness. Were it not for that, this would be scoring several points higher.

Score: 85/100


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