Craigellachie was founded by Peter Mackie and Alexander Edward, and their names feature strongly on the packaging of the new releases which is a nice traditional touch that I like. The Craigellachie 13 is the first in the range of a new set of releases from the Speyside distillery that will also see a 17 year old, 19 year old and 23 year old released alongside it.
I was delighted to be invited on a trip earlier this summer that saw a group of us visit 5 distilleries in little over 24 hours as we were treated to a sneak preview of what has now been unveiled as The Last Great Malts release by Dewars. Over time we hope to bring you a review of each of the expressions but for now we’ll just focus on the Craigellachie 13.
Craigellachie was the first stop in a busy second day of the trip. We enjoyed a great behind the scenes look at the distillery and we’re even treated to a roof top visit to see and smell the worm tubs that still grace the distillery. The smell of sulphur was strong and cut through the cool Speyside air. I do love going to a distillery though – it gives you a real insight into the spirit that you have enjoyed drinking, you get to meet the people who crafted it, see the shape of the stills that created it and just have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the surroundings of the place your whisky has come from. Craigellachie for its part is a picturesque, albeit fairly small distillery. It sits just off the main road from the heart of Speyside and the first thing you notice are the cathedral size windows of the still house. Even at this hour on a weekday morning they were wide open in a bid to reduce the temperature in the still room.
At the time of our vist the final versions of the Malts weren’t ready so we had enjoyed something of an exclusive. We were given the opportunity to taste the pre-release versions of the whisky. So the previous night, just before dinner, we sat down with Charlie McClean and he expertly led us through three expressions of Craigellachie. Now these notes may not have much relevance now since they are not the final whisky, but it is hoped that they at least provide some interest as to the final stages of the evolution of the whisky that you can enjoy at home!
Craigellachie 13 (Pre-Release)
Nose: Banana flambé, sweet, lots of icing sugar. Full of lime with a slight sour note. Very fresh and a touch minerally.
Palate: Almost fizzy in taste, plummy. The dram was very rich and jammy with lots of strawberries. Finally there was an unusual almost beery (yeasty) taste.
Finish: short but sweet.
Finally it would be remiss not to taste the actual release, it provides an interesting comparison to the night in Scotland and also informs you as to the taste of the actual general release. I think it’s lovely.
Craigellachie 13 46% (Official Release)
Nose: Sweet with icing sugar and orange peel. A good amount of cloves, cocoa powder and dark chocolate. A final note of apple pie.
Palate: Strawberries and cream. Vanilla custard infused with cardomom. The orange peel from the nose remains and there are notes of seaside rock.
Finish: Dry with hints of cocoa.