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Cragganmore 12 Year Old 20cl

Average score from 15 reviews and 97 ratings 81

Cragganmore 12 Year Old 20cl

Product details

  • Brand: Cragganmore
  • Bottler: Distillery Bottling
  • ABV: 40.0%
  • Age: 12 year old

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Cragganmore 12 Year Old 20cl

I don't like caramel colouring agents in whisky.

This whisky is more white pepper than smokey peat which is how it is described on the bottle.

Bitter finish.

I am sure a that few years back this was a nicer whisky but may be my palate is aging wisely.


Pale orange. Grapes and herbal crunch granola. Nose. Starts with cranberry, prunes and birch. Then tobacco and bacon. Finish is a chimney and coal fires


"Wretch," I cried, "thy God hath lent thee — by these angels he hath sent thee respite — respite and nepenthe, from thy memories of Lenore. Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!"

Cragganmore is quite pleasing and somewhat sophisticated in terms of the tastes produced upon one's sense; however, this said, there are no surprises to it, but it does possess a worthwhile degree of sophistication without being "three dimensional" so to speak.

By that, I mean the palette does not change or morph as one experiences it. What you taste is what you get, and this flavor and finish is quite good, despite its one dimensional presentation.

Nose: Wet hay, the musk of yellow tundra flowers, chimney smoke, old leather bound books of once-elegant rag paper.

Palate: Waldorf salad, honey, salmonberries, treacle sweet meat, and a faint hint of seaweed that seems to have floated up from the stygian depths.

Finish: Mesquite, malty goodness, cracked pepper corns, old leather again, and one last lingering green drop of nepenthe gathered from an apothecary in shoppe and on a street where one would least expect to find him.

For a $50 bottle of whisky, Cragganmore's finish is respectable. It is not extremely long, but it lingers pleasantly enough.

This bottle competes in the same price range as Old Pulteney 12, High Park 12, Glenfarclas 10 and 12, and Talisker 10. In Oregon, it is more expensive than OP and HP. I left out the Islays because it is not in that sort of category, taste-wise, in my estimation.

In going up against these other delicious whiskies, the Cragganmore comes up short in terms of complexity but not in terms of sophistication. It is better balanced to me than the OP12, for instance, but I do like the OP12 a great deal for its quirky "suprises" that do unfold on the palette, and have often chosen it over Cragganmore 12 not because it "tastes better," but because it challenges one's taste buds and nose a bit more.

I would be interested to lay hands upon an older Cragganmore. I have yet to come across one. The 14 year makes me mildly curious, while the 17 year very much intrigues me.

Well done, thou Craggy Kraken: "If I say that my somewhat extravagant imagination yielded simultaneous pictures of an octopus, a dragon, and a human caricature, I shall not be unfaithful to the spirit of the thing. A pulpy, tentacled head surmounted a grotesque and scaly body with rudimentary wings; but it was the general outline of the whole which made it most shockingly frightful. . . . A mountain walked or stumbled . . . ”

I may have to re-visit this whisky again...From what I recall several months ago - it was a solid dram, but nothing outstanding.

If I remember correctly - just as I was finishing up a bottle of the Cragganmore 12 yr - I opened up a new bottle of the an Cnoc 12 yr, and from that point on I was like "Craggan-what"?

Artificial caramel color/flavor in this whisky does not earn bonus points :(


I received this bottle from my wife as a 13th anniversary present...she picked it up because it was on clearance at the LCBO (they are trying to liquidate all their remaining 20cl bottles), so it was just under $20 CAD. Prior to cracking it open, I'd never tried anything from Cragganmore, apart from what found its way into the recently deceased JW Green Label (which I greatly prefer).

On Friday, March 8, 2013, I sat down with my friend Jeff to do a second evaluation of the NEAT glasses that I'd received from @Arsilica. As with the previous test (see my review of the Penderyn: NEAT Challenge - Part I), we also employed a square shot glass, a Speyside glass, and a Glencairn Canadian. The scoring has been broken down below. Please note that for the final score, I averaged each of our top three scores (rounded up; this effectively eliminated the scores from the square shot glasses).


NEAT - N 18, T 17, F 16, B 15 - T 66

Shot - N 8, T 11, F 11, B 12 - T 42

Spey - N 15, T 15, F 13, B 12 - T 55

Glen - N 17, T 16, F 15, B 15 - T 63


NEAT - N 17, T 16, F 15, B 15 - T 63

Shot - N 10, T 12, F 11, B 11 - T 44

Spey - N 12, T 13, F 13, B 13 - T 51

Glen - N 15, T 14, F 14, B 14 - T 56

I was certainly disappointed with the Cragganmore, which we dubbed 'CragganBORE' or 'CragganSNORE'. While the box touts it as having a very sophisticated and complex nose, with sweetish notes and smoky maltiness on the finish, we didn't get any of that...what we found was just the opposite: a closed, uninspired nose with some vanilla and floral notes with a hint of butter (using the NEAT we were also able to pick out some grass and a very faint whiff of smoke).

On the palate we got more butter (sort of dry, stale pastry), a tiny bit of fruity malt, and day-old pound cake...not at all what we expected for such a highly vaunted 12 year-old Speysider.

The finish was short and malty, with the tiniest hint of smoke, but mostly there was the overpowering buttery-ness.

I'm tempted to say that the bottle was off, since outside of my experience with a few NAS Canadian whiskies, I've never had something so bland and sub-par, and even the NEAT, which performed as advertised and eliminated the alcohol burn from the nose was unable to tease much out more of it.

Would I buy a full bottle? I'm not sure, as the a 75cl bottle at the LCBO is currently $84.95 CAD...I've had far better 12 year-old or younger whiskies for much less (Highland Park, Glenlivet, Glenfiddich, Aberlour 10, JW Black Label, Taketsuru 12, Talisker 10...even the Clynelish 14 is cheaper...).

Hmm...I really enjoy Cragganmore and it's a great price. It's very popular with people starting out and I do believe that's because its pretty well behaved...nothing too big about it. However, it has a beautiful floral nose, and I love the gentle smokey malty dry tea like finish...very unique. I can't help but wonder if you didn't get a poor batch. I tried some Glenlivet 18 a while back and thought it was the worst scotch I've ever tasted. Tried it again later from a different source and thought it was fairly wonderful. But of course...Cragganbore just may not be your thing.

@WhiskyBee and @indynoir - it is possible that, like the Highland Park 12, the Cragganmore 12 needs some time to open up in order for the flavours to develop a little more...and unfortunately, we didn't have time: it was a 200ml bottle, which was enough for four 25ml drams each (one per glass being evaluated). The test took the better part of two hours, and we didn't have anything else following it. I'd be more than willing to try it again, but the price is kind of a limiting factor...

As for the marking, it is interesting to see how grading systems differ! Up here 60 to 63 is a C-, 64 to 66 a C, and 68 to 69 a C+ ... unless you're in Graduate School, where anything below a 70 is an F...


The speyside edition of Diageo's classic malt range. A very decent although slightly cliche (and overproduced) malt which seems to be struggling to keep up with demand

  • Nose: Sweet malt, touch of toffee, smoke fragrant, rock salt, sea air. With water slightly beefier toffee with more citrus, smoke is gone and salt less prominent

  • Pallet: light body, sweet again, smoke, tangy citrus, loads of fruit flavours probably stone fruit. With water reasonably spicy more prominent fruit notes with less toffee sweetness

  • Finnish: salt and fruit returns, dry slightly crisp finish. With water feels richer, citrus flavours linger a bit longer.

  • Mark – Neat: 8.2, with water: 8.2

a perfectly decent malt. great for beginners as it opens up a wide range of flavours with relative ease i do think it is beginning to suffer from its huge production and would recommend buying the 70cl bottle as opposed to the 1L as it can flatten out over time in the big bottle.


Cragganmore 12 year old has a character that appeals to me: delicate yet assertive, sweet and complex. Very fragrant on the nose, with lots of sweet fruit (apples, melons), a bit of wood resin, maybe pine sap, and a distinctly malty character. A pleasure to smell.

On the palate, this whisky is what I would call "malty." If someone wants to know what malt whisky tastes like, a glass of this would spell it out for them. Not as sweet as the nose, with a surge of bitterness reminiscent of grape stems. Medium-bodied and silky, it glides over the tongue, drying as it goes, leaving a dry, oaky finish.

Overall, this whisky stands apart from other mainstream Speysiders. It balances bittersweet flavours with a sweet, enticing aroma. I would buy it again.


Bottling Date: L1

Colour: Gold/Straw

Nose: Very pleasant and complex nose. It smells just like Christmas. You'll be hit with Christmas pudding, fruit cake, gingerbread and spice aromas. It truly is a whisky you could nose for hours.

Palate/Finish: A sweet entry, which goes slightly dry and leaves you with a mild peat finish. It's exceptionally smooth, with no bite or prickle at all. It's easy to see why this single malt is such a hit amongst master blenders.

However, as a single malt its downfall lies in the taste and finish. They're so thin and underwhelming after the amazing nosing experience. You can't help but imagine how wonderful this whisky would be if it was bottled at 46% or more to give it a fuller body and slightly longer finish.

There's no denying this is a gem of a delicate speysider. But it's like discovering you've won the the lottery (nosing) then being disappointed to find out you have to share your prize amongst 20 other winners when you go to collect your winnings (taste/finish). You're grateful that you've won, but it would've been even better to get it all.

Man...I'm drinking this now and as I re-read your description you are dead on. The thin mouth feel and quick finish are not expected after that great aroma. A delightful light dram for the warmer months


This is a good dram. Very good indeed. If you ever had a Johnnie Walker, you will "get" this scotch right away.

On the nose it's a mix of wet straw, chestnut and honey. Lots of honey. And a metallic and slightly chlorinated smoke. Mysterious and inviting. Couldn't get my nose out of my glass for the first 10-12 minutes.

on the palate, the full bodied whisky gives out an initial hit of wallnut that gives way to clover honey: golden and sweet. One of the best introduction of any malt I ever tasted.

The development is exactly the same as Johnnie walker black and green: we get the malt and the metallic edge shows up briefly. Then some white flowery notes that brings clover to mind, once again.Not bad.

The final starts with heather honey, with a bunches of herbs and a touch of cherry stones, you know, the black slighly sours ones. Finally, you find some soft dryness and nutmeg spices with just a note of violet. Impeccable, which is french for without sins or faults.

And I think that this is it: this is a dram without any major flaw. If I was in Diageo's place, I would do exaclty the same and definitely build my top blend on top of that one as well. Indeed, you get a nice floral notes and a sweet honey touch with a slight metallic tatse that just marries itself so well with highland and Islay or coastal malts as well as with old and young grain whiskies. A linchpin malt if I ever tasted one.

I will buy this one again. And again. But I would love to see an unchillfilted edition bottled at 46%, which would probably send this one in the 90s.


The nose is heavy, complex and rich with fruit (citrus) and some spice. It's like the scent of a woman and keeps you wanting more... 10-15 mins. of nosing is great. The palate had an initial faint smoke that complimented the onset of more citrus and spice, true to the nose. Some anise was detectable after a while. The finish brought the spice in focus, ended up medium in duration, semi-dry, and finally fresh cut grass at the end. After water brought out more vanilla, toffee and the grass on the finish. I would come back to this one again and again because it is different, but excellent every time.

Cragganmore is a good drinking whisky, I especially enjoy the Distillers Edition.

LeFrog, thanks for the advice on the Distiller's Edition.


Nose: Fresh, crisp and intoxicating. Nothing distasteful, but everything blended together to alert the senses that you are about to drink a good whisky. I am having a hard time detecting anything coming out from the background.

Palate: Cool and refreshing as it hits the tongue, building in mass as it wakes up the sides of the mouth.

Finish: Medium-long finish, releasing a pleasant taste as the whisky goes down the gullet. Nothing bitter, nothing peaty, nothing distasteful. The entire experience is the essence of a great, malty whisky. The chest warms as the taste of a solid Speyside lingers. Hints of honey, heather and nectar on the finish.


Nose: Bit of a tingle. Very interesting. Sweet and Woody. Artificial grape flavouring. Butterscotch. Rich wood. Leather. A bit difficult to pin down. Some hay. Layered. Not many "natural" smells. But very good.

Taste: Herbal and bitter at first. I want to say Jagermeister. Then some smoke and seaweed. Rounds off with some of the wood from the nose.

Finish: Not very long. Lemon and salt, with a little bit of pepper at the end. An undercurrent of smoke.

Comments: Reasonably refreshing. Very interesting nose, shortish finish, and the taste is not too sweet. In other words, pretty easy to drink, but nothing remarkable. I find the inconsistency between the nose and the palate a little jarring, and I'm not too keen on the bitter herbs. But like everybody else, I love that nose.


Nose: Sherry oak, grapefruit, vanilla, a little rum cake...but most importantly, Juicy Fruit gum, and I mean that in a good way. A complex embracing nose.

Palate: This one attacked the palate more than I expected, it was strong and surprisingly different than the nose. There were still sherry notes and caramel, and a Speyside floral-ness, but I found a muskiness and bitter fruit notes as well. Hovering over this all was a nice burnt leaves/dry smoke layer, the strength of which kind of surprised me.

Finish: Medium-long, all of the above mingle and slide away, with the smoke sticking around the longest

Thoughts: Interesting, beguiling even. The difference between the smell and the taste was an appealing difference, not a stark, off-putting one. To quote my tasting partner, "this is a relatively simple, salt-of-the-earth Scotch that is dressed up for a fancy night on the town."

I do love this one. A very very spicy Speyside.

One of the best noses out there - one of my favourites.


I love the complex, smoky & peaty Islay whiskys, but the Cragganmore convinced me of tasting more Speyside malts in the future.

Nose: Very(!) refreshing, fresh fruits (citrus), fresh grass, vanilla, slightly spicy (tobacco?) and smoky Body: Light to medium, but very smooth and delicate Palate: Semi sweet with a wide range of fruits; slightly smoky and spicy Finish: average length

I really agree with Michael Jackson that Cragganmore is one of the most complex malts.

Tried this for the first time at Hopscotch in Vancouver. Bit crowded and noisy and the glass I had was not the best for nosing, but my impressions were that this is a Scotch that does absolutely nothing wrong. Balanced, flavourful, very tasty. Will definitely be revisiting this one.

Thanks, yossiyitzak. I will add this dram to my wishlist ;-)


This whisky has a crazy-good nose. Really complex; vanilla sweet, fruity and floral with a creamy/savoury edge. I take several deep whiffs with every sip, the smell is what really makes this whisky.

The taste starts out honey sweet end which slowly reveals a more meaty savoury edge. The finish is long, fruity and sweet, with a hint of smoke emerging.

The taste is simple and enjoyable, but that nose - oh my!

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