We’ve looked at this 13yo Craigellachie and the 17yo Craigellachie, and as mentioned before, Craigellachie, like most distilleries, had spent its life providing fillings for blends. This isn’t unusual. After all, 90% of the Scotch whisky sold globally is blended. Malt distilleries, by and large, exist to provide liquid for those blends. However, this doesn’t mean that the whiskies they produce are inferior to those who have gained fame as single malt brands. Whilst sampling these Scotches I’ve always made reference to their meaty, full-bodied notes with a hint of sulphur and this in fact is due to the worm tubs used. This is actually an old-fashioned way of condensing alcohol vapour back into liquid form of scotch, not many distilleries today use this method and still believe this lends more character to the whisky, making Craigellechie even more unique.
On the nose: you’ll get a waft of signature Craigellachie pineapple and strangely enough some green olives. Some notes of candy sticks will start to emerge followed by vanilla, cinnamon and a subdued peppery note. There are a few notes of mint, smoke and of course that meaty note. On the palate: those sweet pineapple notes will hit you, along with some sherry. The palate starts to get quite peppery and spicy, with hints of cinnamon and cloves. There are notes of aniseed that start to emerge and some rich oak, with layers of smoke. The finish: is long, sweet and smoky.
The verdict: Like the 13yo and 17yo we’ve already tasted this is a meaty, full-bodied dram that is well-balanced and in my opinion is the best of the lot but what I liked about it was that surprising smoky element to it. Definitely not a drop that required any water – though if you do need to then only add a very small amount. If you don’t feel the urge to add any water then allow the scotch to breathe for approx. 3 – 7 minutes to open up the nose and palate.
Craigellachie 23 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky can be found online or in-store at any well-stocked whisky shop for approximately £300
For more information on this 23-year-old expression, visit the official Craigellachie website.