Review: Craigellachie 17 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky / by Jason Hambrey

Craigellachie 17.jpg
17 yrs
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Craigellachie (Craigellachie, Scotland)

This whisky was awarded Whisky Advocate's 2014 speyside malt of the year after Dewar's rolled out an impressive selection of single malts from distilleries which didn't have much in the way of official bottlings before that point. This is an unpeated single malt, with a focus on the cereal notes in the blend - the malt is grinded very finely, and is drained to be quite a cereal-laden wort - so we expect the malt notes to be quite central to the character of the blend. I quite like the packaging, too - and the heavy set bottle well suits the character of the whisky inside.

Review (2017)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: L14218B701 18:57

  • Bottling Date: ~2014

Rich, dried fruit right off the bat. Immediately you can see that the malt is coming together, growing in body, complexity, and integration – I can only imagine what a bit more age would do (those who’ve tried the 23 could tell you!). Rummy, with some light molasses, light brown sugar, lightly heavy and meaty – but not as much as the 13, it is quite a different malt – raisins, apple, sweet malt, spices (clove, nutmeg), and light dusty earthiness. Dried pineapple, dried papaya. The malt is so central, and it is brilliant. Elderflower. And all of this in 2 minutes of nosing - terrific! Bourbon cask notes tend to come with time, and the oak grows.

The palate again carries malt centrally, with very slight malty acidity- lightly floral and more herbal than the nose (I expected the dried fruit to continue). And we have some nice peach, and some nice spices, which meld really well with the malt – cinnamon, and something a bit sharper – an old bag of cloves, and nutmeg – and then we have papaya coming in at the end. The oak is quite present, but very well integrated. The finish is relatively short, but complex with a slight bite similar to the 13 year old. A malty influence, as from a decent lager, and light menthol on the end. Dry.

The dry glass yields some wonderful sweet oak.

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Low, at $154.