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Maybe regional designations don't matter much anymore, but I tend to think of "typical" Speyside whisky as honey-flowers-cinnamon-vanilla-raisins and this Craigellachie is a bit different. It's from a sample a friend gave me. I don't know when the bottle was opened, nor do I know when the sample was poured.
- Nose (undiluted): red grapes, Welch’s grape juice, icing sugar, underripe honeydew melon, oak, vanilla, very slight sulphur aroma of the spent match variety. No rotten eggs, not enough to detract from the overall experience. You could strain credulity, get a little creative and call it “smoke”.
- Palate (undiluted): rich, sweet arrival, a bit hot for 46%, pineapple, mangoes, sultanas, ginger, and a bit of actual woodsmoke.
- Finish: medium length, vanilla bean, oak, more icing sugar, slightly green and herbal with oak spices and a light woodsmoke lingering.
With water: there are more green aromas on the nose, cardamom perhaps, while the fruit gets pushed back on the palate and overtaken by a vanilla crème brûlée flavour with grape jelly hanging around as well. The finish gets some green apples, lemon, and a peppery, oaky kick with water added. I think I preferred this neat.
Overall, this is a really interesting malt. It’s different from your run-of-the-mill Speysides yet it doesn’t venture too far into wonky territory. I was worried about the spent match on the nose, but it seems to dissipate with a good rest in the glass. I’m not sure I’d pay the Ontario asking price (approx. $155) for this but I’d gladly accept a gift bottle.