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Cragganmore SMWS 37.113 Biscuit Bisque

I wouldn't have called it Biscuit Bisque

6 385

WReview by @Wierdo

25th Aug 2020


Cragganmore SMWS 37.113 Biscuit Bisque
  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
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A 15 year old Cragganmore from the SMWS matured in an ex-bourbon refill cask for a dozen years or so years then finished for a few years in a second fill Red-Wine Barrique.

I quite like the Cragganmore 12 year old. It's a bit underpowered at 40% abv. But other than I think it's an underrated Speysider. So I was happy to grab this bottle when I was an SMWS member. Especially with the intriguing Red Wine cask finish.

Needs water. A fair bit of water.


Gooseberries, dry oak, limes, kiwi fruit, digestive biscuits.


Quite oily mouthfeel. Fairly quick arrival with a little pepper note and some heat. Development is quite drying with sour gooseberries and under-ripe green fruits. Some yeasty sourdough bread.


Long, starts with some subtle almost smoky oak then goes bitter with tannins.

I'm not getting the wine cask influence in the whisky. In fact I'm not picking up much cask influence at all. I'm not really getting biscuits either. So I'm not sure where the name comes from?

So another typical spirit-forward whisky from the SMWS. Even at 15 years this is very much spirit-forward. Not terribly complex, you'd never guess it was 15 years old in a blind tasting. If asked I'd have gone for 10 years old, tops.

Despite the review I didn’t mind this whisky. It was fairly enjoyable. Just not as good as I hoped it would be. In a good cask this could have been a really interesting whisky.

Every bottle I've had from the SMWS has been very much spirit-forward. Even the 16 year old Aberlour and 22 year Glen Grant I had were spirit dominated.

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OdysseusUnbound commented

My experience is not extensive, but the only whiskies I enjoy which use “second fill” casks usually have other casks used in maturation. Laphroaig Triple Wood comes to mind, with 5-11 years in first fill ex-bourbon, 1 in first fill ex-bourbon quarter casks (125 litres), 1 Year in first fill sherry, and 2 years in second fill sherry.

Many whiskies I haven’t enjoyed are aged in predominantly second, third, or fourth fill casks. I’m not saying these whiskies can’t be good, but that’s just my observation so far in my journey.

3 years ago 2Who liked this?

RianC commented

@Wierdo - you're not having much luck with the SMWS are you!? From the samples you've sent I'd concur with the spirit forward nature of them and would suspect old/below par casks. I did like the Aberlour though and the Balblair sample, on the little sip and smell I had, seemed promising.

Im with you on the OB Cragganmore and would have been quite excited to try an IB from them but this sounds a little underwhelming, perhaps?

3 years ago 2Who liked this?

Wierdo commented

@OdysseusUnbound I think the second fill is usually used to try to cover up for a medicore first maturation so they bung it into a wacky cask for a couple of years to try and at least give an interesting profile with mixed results.

@RianC I've not been hugely impressed with the bottles I've had from the SMWS but am glad I joined. I'd have always wondered otherwise. I do get the distinct impression like you that they don't have a huge selection of good casks. I also think that because I'm a bit annoyed with them (they weren't particularly customer friendly when I complained to them which added to my frustration) I probably subconsciously mark their whiskies a little harsher than if I'd had the same whisky from say Cadenheads.

3 years ago 4Who liked this?