Craigellachie Distillery is owned by Dewar & Sons (itself a subsidiary of Bacardi) and was previously one of the many distilleries where almost all of the produce went into blended whiskies.

That all changed a few years ago with the launch of the ‘Last Great Malts of Scotland’ range, where 13, 17, 19 and 23 year-old expressions were bottled as single malts.

Craigellachie is described as having an ‘old-fashioned’ style, with a heavier ‘savoury’ character which makes it a likely rival for Diageo’s Mortlach and should hopefully bring some interesting flavours.

This 13-year old expression is bottled at 46%; our notes are below.

Nose

Bright punchy nose with immediately pear drop acetone notes along with some sweet lemon and silky honey.

Becomes a little biscuity then fresh green apples along with more tropical fruits such as pineapple and a hint of papaya.

Leave it for some time and those apple/pear notes dominate.

Palate

Quick a rich liquid and the first flavours match the nose, with sweet pear drops dominating initially.

The heavier character does appear quickly though, with quite a strong metallic flavour appearing and taking over. Just a hint of sulphur but it doesn’t get in the way.

Going back for another sip and the flavours have reversed, with the savoury notes pushing the sweetness aside the whisky becoming slightly astringent and bitter with some smoky dryness appearing.

Finish

The whisky stays dry toward the finish and there’s an earthen note along with a peppery spice which catches the throat.

A medium length finish and the main flavours are the bitter metallic note which lingers.

Overall

This Craigellachie 13 is definitely a whisky of two halves. The nose and initial flavours are light, sweet and fruity, but the follow-up flavours and finish are quite astringent and dark.

This can be a great combination if well balanced, but unfortunately in this case it’s not. Once those bitter notes took over, I never really got the sweetness again so it ended up being a bit too one-sided for my tastes, which is a shame.

Not a bad whisky by any means, but I wouldn’t choose this expression in future.

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