Now and then I’m lucky enough to get hold of a sample of some of the stuff that the Scotch Malt Whisky Society puts out. They buy and bottle casks for their members and have something of an eye for good stuff. This one was distilled at Cragganmore, one of Diageo’s classic malts from the Speyside region, of which I’m quite a fan.
Independently bottled Cragganmores are few and far between which is a shame as the extra oomph provided by being bottled at cask strength turns this from a good whisky into a great whisky.
Aged 17 years. 48.2%ABV. Matured in a refill bourbon cask. No colourant added, non-chill filtered and bottled at cask strength from cask 37.78.
Nose: Juicy fruit gum. Big tropical fruit notes. Passion fruit. Mango peel. This is the name influencing my opinions (damn those SMWS guys are good at this) but I’m picking up some strong floral, perfumy notes. Light woody vanilla. Oranges, with very waxy peels. Peach scent, like not the fruit but when stuff like air fresheners and toilet sprays say ‘peach’.
Palate: The fruit continues now, but different, the best way I can describe it is as if a singer suddenly went from tenor to baritone. A rich honey note. Caramel. Woodspice. Ribena. Something dusty on the swallow.
Finish: Long. Woodspice, intense but not overbearing. Dustiness continues. Straw. Bitter citrus. Creamy vanilla oatmeal.
Would I buy this: Yes
Would I order this in a bar: Yes
Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes
Another stunner from the SMWS. This is a big, bold and complex whisky, sometimes light, sometimes heavy, well balanced and very tasty.