We’ve looked at the 13yo, 17yo and the 23yo expressions from the Craigellachie distillery, 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 use this method today and still believe this lends more character to the whisky, making Craigellechie even more unique. As mentioned way back when we first posted tasting notes on the Craigellachie 23 that there would indeed be a 31yo, this my dear readers is it!
On the nose: you’ll get a waft of signature sweet Craigellachie pineapple, toffee, vanilla and butterscotch. This is nicely followed by cinnamon, rich dark chocolate, a hint of lemon zest, sherbet and candy. There are hints of cracked black pepper, alongside Demerara sugar, that signature meaty note, a hint of coriander, hazelnuts and lovely waxy note that rounds off the nose. On the palate: those sweet pineapple notes will hit you, along with some raisins. This is closely followed by notes of marzipan, vanilla and that welcomed meaty note. The palate is spicier than suspected and affords notes of cinnamon, black pepper and all-spice. There are wonderful notes of lemon zest, butterscotch, candy, a herbaceous note, chocolate ganache and a tobacco note, which finishes the palate. The finish: is long, sweet, smoky, dry with lingering nuttiness and oak.
The verdict: This Craigellachie 31-year-old expression, like the 13, 17 and 23-year-old expressions, is meaty, full-bodied and undoubtedly well-balanced. While I still maintain the 23yo is the best of the lot, this 31yo expression just takes it to the next level. With a ABV of 52.2%, in my honest opinion, it doesn’t require any water due to its sheer smoothness. Though if you feel the need to, then do so until it’s just right for you.
Craigellachie 31 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky is only available via World Duty Free in the UK, for approximately £500 ($804) but will also be launching in other GTR retailers in the next few months.
For more information on this 31-year-old expression, visit the official Craigellachie website.