I’ve already seen a few commenting online that they sometimes struggle with Craigellachie. We can’t all like everything. Equally though, there are some suggestions that today’s Boutique-y Advent offering might have won over a few new fans to this spirit style – one that has long been prized by blenders for its inherent weight and fruity/cereal character. Craigyellachie is far more preferable to Craighellachie.
The use of worm tubs – a whisky geek’s favourite hangout spot – and particularly long fermentation are what are responsible for producing Craigellachie’s lower reflux spirit style, which taste-wise often presents with a fruity, but slightly meaty/malty profile. But whilst blenders have been utilising this whisky as a foundation for products since the 19th Century (such as White Horse), it was not until 2014 that the distillery’s owners Dewars (and parent company Bacardi) decided to push the boat out and position Craigellachie as a leading single malt in its own right.}
The inclusion of the distillery in the ‘Last Great Malts of Scotland’ series has moved it from blending component into the single malt spotlight. A World Whisky Award for the 31 year old expression has only further solidified its reputation – and its desirability, particularly for longer-aged expressions. Back in 2018 the distillery launched a highly successful marketing campaign to raise the profile of spirit – 51 bottles of 51 year old Craigellachie (the oldest produced to date) – with every single bottle set aside for worldwide tasting events – at no cost to participants. A commendable decision given the huge growth in whisky commodification over the last decade, and in my view a sure-fire way to continue to raise the profile of this enigmatic distillery.
Craigellachie has been one of the quieter ones in 2020 – just one single cask release introduced into the Exceptional Cask Series. I’ve no doubt it’ll be back in 2021 and will once again be winning over even more fans.
Boutique-y’s seventh batch is a vatting producing 2,987 bottles. It’s delivered at 50.3% and is available from Master of Malt for £71.95 a bottle.
Nose: Acacia honey and apple peels sit together with sweet barley, oatmeal and earthy malts whilst sweet potato fries are joined by split vanilla pods and freshly baked shortbread. Water offers up toffee and cinnamon rolls together with lighter fruit notes of kiwi and pear juice.
Taste: A pleasant ‘thick’ weight on arrival. Sponge cake is topped with lemon curd and then drizzled with golden syrup. More shortbread pastry is brought into the mix whilst roasted malts and a cup of warm mocha is joined by an interesting pang of salinity. Reduction provides a real sense of syrupiness and distillate heft, whilst also introducing tinned apples, cider apples and background note of Fizzers candy.
Finish: Medium to long, still textured and with burnt toffee and residue earthiness sitting with nutmeg and a tingle of pepper.
Craigellachie 10 year old Batch 7 is a solid drop. The distillery character and distillate weight are both ably communicated here, whilst the whisky walks a tightrope of sweetness vs cereals. It enjoys dilution also – delivering addional fruitiness without compromising the significance of the mouthfeel. Very likable.
To see how Sorren got on with this Speysider – swing by OCD Whisky
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