Thursday, June 11, 2020
Like the eyes of a cat fixed upon a bird chirping in a tree, my focus is often upon the weighty matter of good whisky. And so, at whisky festivals, line-ups at the bank, grocery stores, and anywhere else I happen to be, the most common question I get is:
What scotch do you recommend?
Without knowing anything about the person, other than the fact that they have no inkling of what they like, I respond authoritatively with the zeal of a megawatt smiling YouTube life coach:
Cragganmore 12 year old. Try it. If you don't like it, I will buy the bottle from you.
Money back guarantee always seals the deal! And you know what? I have never had to buy a bottle yet. You see, Cragganmore 12 is what I regard as the gateway drug of the single malt world. This Speyside malt with loads of honey, caramel, marzipan, the incredible lightness of clouds with a touch of smoke and a wee pinch of peat delivers satisfaction and that Day Tripper hook, that reels you back for one more sip. Works every time! So, when I spied the Cragganmore Distiller's Edition on the shelf at the store of my local purveyor of incredible lightness of being, I had to have it.
So, I also had some trepidation when I purchased the Cragganmore Distiller's Edition (distilled in 2007 and bottled in 2019).
Cragganmore 'The Distiller's Edition'
Distilled in 2007.
Bottled in 2019.
Here is the twist, what you are paying for: aging in port casks for an unknown period of time. I like port finishes, so here's hopin'.
About 25% higher than the standard 12 year old release.
Fruit forward, raspberries, strawberries, very floral too, roses?
Spicy, rich red liquorice, velvety texture, full mouth feel, big body, weighty, black grapes, orange peel and a complex tapestry of caramel and maple sugar.
Medium length balsamic vinegar, pears, port wine, and a dusting of smoked almonds.
Wow! In spite of an ABV of 40%, this tastes heavier and more complex. Complexity abounds in the warm almond/cashew and maple sugar profile with a little smoke. Not too sweet. Such balance. I am really impressed. So impressed, I bought a second bottle.
I always seem to gravitate to whiskies with a port finish and this whisky is no exception. It is less heavy on the port notes than say Glenmorangie's Quinta Ruban, and instead offers a delicate/more complex port finish.
This bottle is a testament to how chill filtration and the use of distiller's caramel do not diminish the magic in a bottle.