Craigellachie – 18 Year Old – Hepburn’s Choice – K&L Selection – Single Malt Scotch Whisky | 54.3% (108.6 Proof) $99.99 (Here)
Color/Appearance: Deep dark cherry. Wonderful natural color from a first-fill sherry cask. New distillery for me and I know very little about it. But that just makes trying it even more exciting. Getting to explore whisky from lots of distilleries is one of life’s great pleasures. Get out there today and try a new distillery. Right when people are starting to know the Craigellachie name through new official single malt releases, K&L was able to select this sherry butt and bring us a cask-strength eighteen year old beast. Good timing! Lets see what has been hiding in the blended shadows for all these years.
Nose: Right away there is some sherry intensity that might read as sulfur, but for me is really just some dense flavors that take a few minutes to unpack. Give it some time, this stuff has been contained for eighteen years and would like a few minutes of respect so it can stretch its legs before you devour it. Just common courtesy. Here is the payoff. Rich chocolate, macerated black cherries, tangerine, raisins, almonds and toasted oak. Then a little salt, spent match and coal smoke. Interesting.
Palate: Funky and deep, with oodles to explore. Ginger spiced honey on a homemade graham cracker. Chocolate, and raisins with a wee bit of earthy peat, and something almost vegetal. Slightly farmy. Velvety and fully coats the tongue.
Finish: Dry and crisp with black pepper, and black cherries drying over oaken staves. Plums, cinnamon and lacquered teak. Maybe a touch of cherry medicine and moss.
Overall: This is a wonderful single malt that really shows how great it is that Scotland has so many unique distilleries. Craigellachie has only recently started emerging from blended obscurity with single malt expressions and this is a nice one. If you are looking for something totally clean and perfect of profile this is not your whisky, but if you like things a little rougher around the edges you will be duly rewarded. I really like how this whisky takes that sweet rich full sherry matured profile and finds room for more. It might not be the more you are looking for, but for me it is always a very enjoyable pour and I like things a little funky. Keep in mind that these funky edges are only slight and serve to amplify the interest on what is basically a big rich sherry beast. Its a whisky that really suits the coming winter months. Damn sure wish I had a little more left.