Cragganmore 12 year old
£32.51 from MasterofMalt
For a Speyside whisky this has a little smoke on the nose. I’m not sure if this has been peated at all, or if it’s matured in very heavily toasted (or even re-charred) casks. There’s lots of oak. Some honey. Caramel and confectionary sugar. Apples. A little cinnamon and some ginger. But despite all the sweet notes it still senses and comes across as dry. Very different!
Being chill filtered it does have quite a thin mouthfeel, but there is a whole bunch of sweet, honey malty goodness. The fruit is crisp apples, some sultana and a touch of pear. Loads of caramel and dry syrup. A touch of effervescence and a bunch of charred wood.
Not as long as the box would suggest, I would put this a medium finish at best. Lots of drying burnt wood, honey, apple pie and toasted sugar. The finale is very drying, with a touch of wood bitterness.
It’s been watered quite a bit before the bottle so only a drop. The oak is toned down a little now and the nose is softer with a little more complex oak, apples and honey all integrated very nicely. The palate reflects this also, and is a touch chewier, with more fruitiness in the front, a little salty sour going on as well, actually making the event a lot more interesting. The finish has now lost the bitter effect, and has a pleasant warming honeyed nature. I’m actually surprised by this but a small drop of water makes this dram a lot better indeed. A little more time in the glass and we have some additional fruitiness coming through in the form of stewed bananas.
This is a surprisingly complex whisky, which isn’t for the beginner. I think it would actually be a little off putting to a first time single malt drinker, and is more attuned to the next level of single malt drinker. Something to challenge the senses and really appreciate how much a small drop of water can change the experience of a whisky. Good stuff.