Craigellachie 2007 (58.8%, TOF, 2019)

And here it comes a Craigellachie! The Old Friends is another, relatively new actor in the colourful landscape of the German independent bottlers. The whisky comes from a kind of underrated distillery that I personally quite like: Craigellachie. Distilled in 2007 and bottled in 2019, it spent 11 years in an Amarone wine cask. As I said in another recent post, I feel like this focus on wine-matured whiskies is a bit of a trend I see in the last years among some (mostly German) bottlers. I have to say, I have very mixed experiences with this particular ageing method. When I see a whisky matured in a wine cask, I find myself in a situation similar to when I hear that a new Star Wars movie is coming out. It could be amazing and satisfying, and I’m soooo curious about it. It could also be an utter, unspeakable disaster, and I’m soooo scared about it! I tried a great Craigellachie from Cadenhead’s (it was actually a double maturation in ex-bourbon and ex-wine casks), but I also had some less convincing drams (the Arran Amarone Finish pops up in my mind, but even the Benromach Sassicaia), where the wine cask overpowered the distillate. Now, this particular Craigellachie seems to like to live dangerously, as it proudly displays a full maturation in an Amarone cask… let’s see what I wrote about it in my tasting notes.

Nose: Ugh, veeeeery sweet, and my fears about the wine maturation start taking the nightmarish form of an old Luke Skywalker milking weird aliens on a very remote planet. Chocolate drops, strawberry… but just when I start feeling that this is some kind of… winesky, I notice a fresh note of mint that gives me a New Hope. With water this fresh side becomes more prominent, and I even get something mineral out of it. It’s still very sweet though, and reminding me of a sweet fortified wine.
Taste: The alcohol, despite the high percentage, is very well integrated. Here too it reminds me of some sweet wine, a kind of passito, maybe. Oh, and I learn now that the English word for it is “straw wine“, good to know… But despite all of this wine madness it’s good, very good. Peach, mint again, goji berries. With water is still oily and somewhat… rubbery? It’s for sure entertaining.
Finish: The alcohol dominates at first, but a powerful aftertaste of mint and sugar saves the day.

Overall: It’s just not completely my thing, but the quality is undoubtably there. I think I’ll give it a 80/100. To me the cask influence on the distillate is a tad too strong and I’m not quite sure I would buy a whole bottle. Nevertheless it is surely an interesting and tasty dram. I can imagine, though, that other people could seriously fall in love with it, and I for sure recommend you to give it a try! Available for under 70 euros.

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