September 11, 2018

Craigellachie 13 Year Old

Craigellachie whiskey

Craigellachie 13 Year Old, a Unique and Complex Speyside Scotch.

Craigellachie is an old Speyside distillery which, as their website states, was old in 1891. They currently offer twenty three, seventeen, and thirteen year old versions of their whiskey, with the thirteen being the only one that falls within the majority of people’s price range.

The whiskey from Craigellachie is often used in Dewar’s blends but their singular bottlings are quite unique and worth giving a try.

The 13 year old is bottled at 46%, comes in a really nice light straw color, and is non chill-filtered. Much of its’ unique characteristic comes from the distillers using the uncommon traditional technique of chilling in worm tubs, large tanks of cold water with a copper snake that condenses to cool the spirit.

This technique provides what some describe as a “meaty” flavor, which I am not sure that I taste nor do I think it’s the best marketing description. But regardless of the words they choose to describe their product I think the flavors are incredible.


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Craigellachie 13 tasting notes

This bottle has recently become one of my favorites, however, the first glass I poured was not exactly a treat. You see, this is a one of those bottles that really mellows and evolves over time. I don’t say this to sound like a snob or pretend to be some sort of whiskey tasting expert, but in revisiting a bottle that has been open for nearly a year the change is obvious.

The layers of flavors that are going on here are quite unique and a bit all over the place. It has lots of “green” flavors like bell pepper, mint, and bitter herbs that hit your senses first accompanied by sour lemon, grapefruit peels, and dark black tea. But there are some balancing flavors that cut through the almost astringent nature of this whiskey.

Banana, toasted walnuts, baked apples, and vanilla all provide resistance to the under ripe green nature of this scotch, but the way that all of the flavors come together is extraordinary. A light campfire-like smokiness helps to bridge the gap between bitter, green sour notes, and the bit of warmth and earthy fruit flavors that lay underneath. A touch of salinity, faint toffee and clean sweet oak poke through in the finish with that distinct green bitterness still lingering in a smooth and pleasant way.

A deliciously unique experience.

It seems to be that the longer this bottle is opened, the more the sweet baked dessert flavors wear on the aggressive brightness. Not to say that it is not balanced when the bottle is first opened, but the flavors condense over time resulting in a more unified flavor in the same way that pieces of watermelon in a fruit salad begin to taste a bit like the other components after several hours.

In the States, this bottle tends to sell in the $45-$50 range, but I suggest giving it a try for something different.

Enjoy this one and keep in mind that a few drops of filtered water and 10 minutes will do wonders for this one.



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