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Cragganmore SMWS 37.92 - Stem ginger in syrup

SMWS Starter Kit - Part III of III

5 694

@talexanderReview by @talexander

12th May 2018


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Usually I don't wait 8 days to finish a series of tastings, but I had a slight interruption: a trip to Kentucky! It was absolutely epic, and one day I'll write up some of the bourbons I brought back, but right now let's just wrap up our SMWS started kit.

John Smith built Cragganmore in 1869, in an ideal location that provided access to water (the Craggan burn), barley, peat and a railroad. It apparently has unusual flat-topped stills, and uses old-fashioned worm tubs for condensing.

This malt was distilled Nov 5 2003 and matured for 13 years in a refill ex-bourbon hogshead, yielding 212 bottles.

The colour is a pale yellow with greenish highlights. On the nose we have green grapes, balsamic vinaigrette, kumquats and mint. Lemon drops. Pineapple. Some peat in the background. Sour cherry. Water brings out sourdough and clotted cream. The unusual combination of citrus with a sour vinegar note is very tantalizing - I like this very much.

On the palate the lemon is much more dominant, with sweet peat, green apple, pastry, vanilla and ginger (of course). With water we get more lemon and mint. It does have a slightly syrupy mouthfeel, so I guess the name on the bottle is appropriate.

The finish is long with peppery spice, lemon curd and toasted oak. This is fantastic stuff but proceed with caution: if you hate sour beer, I'm not sure you'll like this as much as I do, as it has similar notes. It has a very specific flavour profile that I don't find in a lot of single malts, so I'm quite delighted with this. Wonder if those worm tubs contribute to that thicker mouthfeel? This is definitely a distillery I would like to explore further, and is the best of the SMWS Starter Kit malts.

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cricklewood commented

@talexander, nice review, it's so rare to see Cragganmore as an independent bottling. The flavour profile you describe is very intriguing and definitely unusual in a Scotch, especially being a big fan of sour beer.

How do you view the welcome kit overall, does it help give you any insight on what to expect from SMWS releases?

Also definitely interested in details of your Kentucky trip.

5 years ago 0

talexander commented

@cricklewood The three malts in the starter kit could have been more varied (how about a peaty one? Or a sherry bomb?) And the overall kit is a bit too cutesy and olde-tymey. But it's all still enjoyable. Re: Kentucky, I'll post about it on the So What Are You Drinking Now discussion at some point.

5 years ago 0

BlueNote commented

@talexander I was beginning to think none of the three samples was going to be a winner but this one sounds very good. Be good to get your thoughts on the membership after you've had some more experience with it. I know my friend who's a member has scared the shit out of his Visa card a few times.

5 years ago 1Who liked this?

talexander commented

@BlueNote Ha - yes, keeping within the budget is a good idea! I've ordered a few already so we'll see how they shape up...

5 years ago 1Who liked this?

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