An intriguingly smoky single malt from the Cragganmore Distillery, released as part of Diageo's Special Release 2019 series. Yes, smoky Cragganmore!
Drawn from refill American oak casks that had previously held 'medium' peated whisky, this natural strength expression was made as a trial in 2006. Pale gold.
Big phenols - a touch of Mezcal too - but brief air contact reveals Cragganmore’s sweeter self: ripe apples, pear drops, tea biscuits and wild honey emerge as the smoke retreats. A chewy, dense, mildly fruity malt wrapped up in a soft spice blanket with a lick of salt. Very approachable uncut.
The peat is kept in check until the last, leaving you with a dry, ashy aftertaste. Only Ardmore (and a handful of others) deliver this kind of Highland smoke.
This one was matured in refill American oak casks for 12 years before being bottled at cask strength.
Nose: Lemon peel, Conference pear and rhubarb and custard sweets lead, with tanned leather, sandalwood and a hint of earthy peat in support. With water, there’s grilled pineapple, marmalade, soft toffee and a hint of green cardamom add depth.
Palate: More orchard fruit, some drying spice and a little honey initially, then water reveals a savoury hint of gamey meat is followed by a note of peppery oak and then a sweet layer of vanilla sugar.
Finish: A beautiful balance of sweetness, smokiness and spice lingers, with a faintly tart citrus element underneath.
Other reviews... This 2006 distillate presents a nose of cider, heather, ginger, malt, hints of nutmeg, and peat. Ripe red apples on the palate, with honey, vanilla fudge, and a faint background wisp of smoke. Relatively long in the finish, with that light smoke persisting alongside black pepper, oak, and now unripe apples. 91 points 58.- whiskyadvocate.com, reviewed by: Gavin Smith (Winter 2019)
58.4% | 700ml
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