Whisky Connosr

Craigellachie 17 Year Old

Not Your Typical Speyside

3 989

@OdysseusUnboundReview by @OdysseusUnbound

18th Jun 2019


Craigellachie 17 Year Old
  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

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.

Tasting Notes

  • 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.

Related Craigellachie reviews


RianC commented

Thank for the review @OdysseusUnbound . Seems like this is a step up from the 13 I tried recently which I found a little boring to be honest. Well made, yes, but just not that engaging. Like you though, I'd certainly not be turning down a sample of anything, let alone a 17 year old!

4 years ago 1Who liked this?

Nozinan commented

I tasted this when I was invited to the "Last Great Malts of Scotland" show in Toronto a few years back. My assessment? "OK, would not buy it." So I see we agree.

4 years ago 1Who liked this?

Victor commented

@OdysseusUnbound I'll bet that you like the 23, 31 yo and 33 yo Craigellachies even better, as a gift, of course.

If someone would give me a bottle of 17 yo Craigellachie I would drink it. Is this an interesting distillery? Yes. But interesting does not of itself make for high priority for purchase.

If Ledaig is typically 3 steps toward the funk, and Springbank 2, then Craigellachie is maybe 1 step into the funky.

4 years ago 3Who liked this?

MadSingleMalt commented

So more "Marky Mark" than "George Clinton."

4 years ago 2Who liked this?

OdysseusUnbound commented

@Victor I’d love to find out how I feel about the older Craigellachie expressions, but the urge is not strong enough to pay for one of those bottles. stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye

4 years ago 0

Victor commented

@OdysseusUnbound bien entendu. I tasted 9 of them at a seminar which cost the price of a decent bottle. As I look over my old tasting place mat I see that I did not have any OB 17 yo. We tasted New Make, 13, 19, 23, 31 and 33 yos, along with one SMWS (20 yo?) an Exceptional Cask Release (14 yo?), and one bonus dram I didn't write down (another IB 18 yo ?) thrown into the mix .

I really liked those Craigellachies aged more than 30 years.

4 years ago 1Who liked this?

RianC commented

@MadSingleMalt @Victor - What whisky would take the 'Stevie Wonder Whisky Funk Award' then?

I'd have to shout out Benromach 15 - that's gonna get my love heart_eyes

And any excuse to fall down a YT rabbit hole of funk such as this classic (and what a band name!)


4 years ago 1Who liked this?

Victor commented

@RianC funky whisky award? That is an interesting question. Seems to me like it would take a very wide experience to have a strong basis for an opinion. Funky in whisky usually seems to be a product of distillation, but it can also result from any combination of distillation funk and oddly flavoured peat or sulphured wine cask influence. You can get any and maybe all of these from Ledaig (Tobermory peated), Springbank/Longrow, Brora, Bowmore (15 yo sherried Darkest), young Craigellachie, and the occasional Bruichladdich (e.g. maybe some releases of Black Art). No doubt there are other good candidates as well. For everyday purposes of expecting funk, I'll go with Ledaig.

Stevie Wonder! I've seen him about five times, all but one of them when he was the first, back-up act for Diana Ross and the Supremes or Dionne Warwick. Those concerts were all more than 50 years ago. The one time I saw Stevie by himself was with me as a 14 year old in February 1968 at the Baltimore Civic Center. My friend and I were the only Caucasians I saw in the audience. This was about 2 months before the King assassination and many buildings being burnt down in Baltimore. That was an interesting and exciting experience.

4 years ago 2Who liked this?