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Craigellachie is a distillery I don't know much about, but I've always liked their malts (though admittedly, I've only really tasted the SMWS bottlings, like this one). Currently owned by Bacardi, it was built in 1891 by Peter Mackie, the whisky baron behind White Horse, in partnership with Alexander Edward. Both this, and of course Lagavulin, were key components of White Horse. Today, however, it is Dewar's that it is most associated with.
This malt was distilled in August 1999 and matured for 13 years in a refill sherry butt, which yielded 560 bottles.
The colour is a honey gold. On the nose, lots of toffee, some light maple syrup, red liquorice - lots of candy going on here, as the tasting notes say. Quite nutty as well, with red peanut skins and brazil nuts. Slightly floral and perfumy, but the main note here is candy (perhaps a wee bit too sweet…) A wee drop of water adds raisin pastry and an almost imperceptible smokiness. Fascinating aromas here.
On the palate, a little syrupy (maybe a little jammy?) with lots of berry fruits and cherry. Caramel, vanilla and more liquorice. Surprisingly, not as sweet as the nose…but still sweet. Water makes the mouthfeel even more syrupy, and adds some heat. Tasty but a little bit all over the place.
The finish is interesting - long and dusty with pine, and a little black-tea bitterness. The tasting notes on the label describe this very well - an old fashioned candy shop. No argument here. But I'm surprised this is from a sherry butt - if I had tasted it blind, I would have sworn it was a bourbon barrel. A fine bottling but you will love it only if you lean toward the sweet stuff.