Saturday, 8 November 2014

Craigellachie OB Single Malts

Craigellachie is a malt I mainly know through SMWS casks and has just been given a life as a single malt by the producers, Dewars and Sons, who have so far been pouring it into their blends. 

The range includes an odd set of age statement single malts (13, 17, 19 (travel retail only) and 23 years old).  The 23 year old has gained some notoriety as being outrageously expensive in the UK but extremely well received as a whisky.  The ages are all prime numbers – that sets your stall out eh?

Huge thanks for Dewars and Sons for letting me try this lot.

Craigellachie 13 years old, 46% A+

crgob.13yoNose – Sweet and hot doggy.  Some mineral, cereal heat, lightly metallic and like a hot heating element.  Behind this some sweeter, more fecund notes of old flowers, toffee pennies and light coastal peat.  Water knocks out the hot dogs and metal, leaving the more floral sweetness behind.

Body – Sweet, rich, clarty and tannic, with some good wood top notes and some pear.  With water, sour edges come through and the sweetness is less integrated.

Finish – Long, very sweet and a little cloying, drying notes right at the end and some good wood finally appears round the back of the sweetness.

What’s not good about it – lacks balance in the finish, lacks a little integration there too.

What’s good about it – however this is an interesting, complex and intense whisky, and well worth the asking price.  The nose is fine at this price point but the initially delivery is extremely good and leaves you with an overall experience that works well.  Recommended.

Craigellachie 17 years old, 46% A⊕+

crgob.17yoNose – Loads of balanced wax compared to the 13.  The minerality is still there, quite a lot of ozone, and bright pear.  Enormous pastry notes – almond croissants.  None of that peat wisp.  Some damp cardboard, smells expensive.

Body – Sweet, some peat, dark wood and perry.  With water, almost Springbank like with the spirit sulphur coming through and drying out some sherry like sweetness.  Also very drying.  Very good.

Finish – A little heat, quite a long, wooded, intense finish with toffee, oak and apple. Quite musky at the end, balanced sulphur and very complex.

What’s not good about it – Not much unless you’re looking for something gentle, which this isn’t! 

What’s good about it – Intense, dry, tannic, deafeningly sweet and balanced with the wood.  What a blast!  Also recommended.

Craigellachie 23 years old, 46% A⊕+

crgob.23yoNose – More intensely waxed but the peat is back.  Hopefully this is going to be a “best of both worlds” of the two before.  Waxed wood, elegant toffee, some toasted crispbread and toast and honey.  After tasting, wonderfully tropical with pineapple, mango and yoghurt and weirdly, agave and tequila tones.

Body – Rich, oily, meaty (finally!) and ripe.  Lots of wood and well balanced.

Finish – Very long, very oily, drying and elegantly sweet but totally balanced throughout.  This is a big, chewy, meaty, sweet yet balanced whisky.

What’s not good about it – Again, not exactly a first timer’s whisky and reasonably challenging.  The price in (only) the UK.

What’s good about it – Deep, rich, oily, balanced, intense and dirty.  Big fan.

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