Craigellachie 23 year old
Non Chill Filtered
No Added Colouring
£330 from The Whisky Exchange (although in Europe the retail price is much cheaper. Don’t know why!)
Lots of vanilla fudge, and some additional honey thickness to this expression. I’m getting some parsley and hay/straw which is new to this expression compared to the other ages. The fruit is a touch more combined and tropical with some light mango, pineapple and a touch of honeydew melon. A touch of pepper and some smokier charred oak from previous younger expressions.
The arrival is immediately fruity, thick with tropical fruit juices. Pineapple and melon dominate, with some citrus in the background. A touch of pepper and oak spices drop in briefly, and the development continues with a mouthcoating creamy vanilla, wisps of smoke come to and fro, and the whole experience is very beautifully constructed.
Gentle, long length. Thick vanilla cream cakes, egg custard, pastry, then drying out into oak. Deeply warming and fulfilling.
Just a few drops added. The nose now has more dust and spice in the forefront, some very dunnage warehouse notes about it. The fruit is ever present, tropical and luscious. The palate is still all about the fruit, very thick and almost smoothy like. We have more creaminess in the vanillas and a touch of sweet shop sweeties amongst the fruitiness, some pineapple cubes and boiled sweets. Some gentle aniseed rounds things off. The finish is soft, gentle, warming and oaky with the creaminess still very present. Lovely aged stuff.
Conclusion and comparison (13yo, 17yo, 19yo & 23yo)
First and foremost I would like to commend Craigellachie for going with a craft presented, aged range of whiskies. We face the days of more and more NAS, some good, some bad and it would have been easy for a very different approach to their releases. I’m glad for the aged tradition. I’m also especially happy at the 46%, colour free, non chill filtered releases. They make a great difference, and I wish other producers would see this and do similar. I’m also hopeful other whiskies in the Dewar’s range will take this approach. Time will tell.
So, what did I like. I liked them all. The traditional style of these whiskies are really a credit to good quality whisky production. That aside, which will I buy? The 17 is my personal favourite, with the 13 being a very fine every day drinker with some complexities to challenge the more experienced whisky drinker. The 19/23 are also excellent stuff, but I cannot easily get the 19 and cannot afford the 23. Simple maths takes them out of the purchase equation.
Many thanks to Craigellachie for the review sample