When it comes to Craigellachie I frequently see folks expressing sentiments of ‘one bitten, twice shy’. I get it. Particularly at younger ages years when the naturally sulphurous make hasn’t had time to properly settle out. However, a good whisky from this distillery can often celebration not only a seriously weighty mouthfeel, but also an attractive propensity toward bright fruitiness and delicate floral motifs.
Let’s see which side of the coin this Watt Whisky single cask falls on. It’s still available via The Whisky Exchange for £55.95.
Nose: Plump rich sherry full of redcurrants, morello cherries and a selection of fruit teas. Milk chocolate, sponge cake and rice pudding add creaminess which is tempered by cinnamon ball heat, leafy freshness and chamois leather. Dilution offers oven-baked buns, brioche rolls and asides of balsamic strawberry.
Taste: A thick delivery with just a few edges of brass polish and doughy youthfulness on the arrival. Orange rind and scattered red berries join toffee sauce, whilst gingercake sits alongside leatherette. Just a touch of struck match reminds us of the distillery in question. Water here reveals an oh so juicy composition with additional fresh berries (redcurrant and strawberry) alongside baked-apple sweetness and golden syrup.
Finish: Medium and sustaining the sherry cask berries and cherries through to the end.
6 year old Craigellachie is potentially the stuff of nightmares – such is the sporadic and unpredictable awkwardness of this heavier style distillate. But this Watt Whisky pick turns out to be far more of a pleasant dream with an attractive balance between cask and spirit and tons of appealing juicy sherry character. I found water to be highly beneficial here in terms of broadening the composition (and expressing the fruity core) – aim for around 52% - but nevertheless if you’re prepared to let go of your pretentions (both about age and this distillery’s oft-times distinctive make), I think you’ll likely be as pleasantly surprised as I was.