Whisky Review & Tasting Notes – Craigellachie 13 Year Old

After we finished the Talisker retrospective let’s head out and try some new malts. Last month Dewar’s (subsidiary of Bacardi) announced their new range of single malts called “The Last Great Malts”

dewars last great malts of scotland

It’s no surprise that Dewars want some chunk of the rising single malts market, small as it is comparing to blended whisky and their own successful Dewars brand in this market. But it’s quite a bold move to go forward with such a big lineup.

This new line is the baby of Stephen Marshall, The Global Marketing Manager for Whisky in Bacardi and contain mostly new single malts (with some re-branded whisky thrown in) from five distilleries: Aberfeldy, Aultmore, Royal Brackla, Craigellachie and Macduff (Glen Deveron brand).

I must admit I have a soft spot for Aultmore and Craigellachie – I tasted a few independent bottlings and they were real good and I even spent a few nights in Craigellachie village when I had my first whisky tour (see my recap here), so I was very curious to try the new lineup.

The first bottlings that was released to market are the bottles in the Craigellachie line: 13yo, 17yo, Travel Retail exclusive 19yo and 23yo – all bottled at 46% and with lovely semi-retro labels.

I’ll review those four this week and we’ll start with the entry level one, the 13yo. The distillery are proud for sticking to ‘worm tubs’ to cool the distilled spirit giving it meaty character so it’s probably ain’t your ordinary Speyside malt, right? And is it any good?

Craigellachie 13 (46%, €45£42)

craigellachie 13Nose: First thing that comes to mind is that it’s very meaty and chewy, some nuts and cream, struck matches air & fire, light and fresh sulphur – it’s not that harsh sulphur that we often encounter (like in some Glen Scotia for example) and it’s iintertwined with apples and light fruits sweetness and overall a very fresh and gentle nose. With time, the suplhur and fireworks/matches get stronger but still mild and sweet.

Palate: Nuts, malt, sulphur and sweet apples

Finish: Mild burning sensation, sweet apples (and bit of cloves) at first which turns to gentle sweetness.

Thoughts: What a pleasant surprise. Before I tried it I was hoping it isn’t half-baked attempt of Dewars/Bacardi to ride the demand and success of single malts. You know, hurrying up, picking up some casks and cooking up some meh single malts for big bucks. But this one isn’t like that. It’s matured for its age and is different (in a good way) from usual speyside whiskies profile. It’s meaty and with light fruity sulphur. I really liked it but be warned it may not be a good fit for sulphur sensitive whisky tasters.

(Official sample provided by Bacardi)

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