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Craigellachie 13 claims to be an old fashion made product. They boast about their worm tubs used in their process-- supposedly creating a spirit rich and full flavored. However, this is not exclusive to them. The likes of Old Pulteney, Springbank, Oban, Talisker, Craggenmore and a few more, also use worm tubs. Sounds to me there is a bit of marketing trickery afoot.
I was really curious about this SM because of the good reviews I've read online and the simple fact that is natural color, non-chill filtered and 46% abv. Everytime I hear that I just gotta have it.
The bottle has been dumped in a wide bottom decanter for two and a half days and the tasting is with a half teaspoon of water added.
Nose: Fresh, Lemon, pineapple, vanilla, ginger root tea, peppery, Granny Smith apples, apricots, traces of maple and butterscotch, dusty, quite earthy.
Palate: Bitter-sour arrival. The distillery describes it as "meaty", but to me it's chewy-rich barley. Semi-dry. Nutty sherry. Heavy spices at the apex like pepper with a touch of... Habanero? Now the fruits arrive like the nose suggests: Apricots, pineapples, green apples also a solid dose of vanilla extract with a bit of honey. As you get closer to the end it drops into low bass notes of dark chocolate and expresso coffee. As you can see its all bitter and sour. A touch of barley sugar balances all out anchoring the bitterness and preventing it to become a runaway freight train.
Finish: Medium to long. Earthy. Bitterness peaking again,but not as dominant as mid-palate. A slight caramel and maple appears and tapers off at the finish.
When first opened, it was very, very tight. No flavors were really tasted. It was bitter- sour with loads of pepper, and spirit dominated. After decanting, it opened up drastically. There is a ying and yang going on here. I've never had an experience like this with any other SM. It's light and vibrant, then turns deep and chewy to then finishing light and vibrant once more.
Patience is key with this one. This is certainly not a beginners whisky. It's definitely challenging, but with some patience, it is certainly rewarding.