Review: Cragganmore 12 Year Old Single Speyside Malt (Diageo Special Releases) / by Jason Hambrey

Cragganmore 12 SR 2.jpg
12 yrs
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Cragganmore (Ballindalloch, Scotland)

Cragganmore is usually only lightly peated, but this whisky is much smokier than the typical, and it’s bottled at cask strength. Interesting!

Review (2020)

  • Batch: Special Releases 2019

  • Bottling Code: L9186CM003 00006147

  • Bottling Date: 2019

Well this is definitely peated. Gorgeous nose. Smoke, spices, woody vanilla, hay, apples, canned apricots, white pepper, unripe pear, and a brilliant portrayal of barley. The spiciness, grassiness, spices, and smoke are just terrific. And, we have dried fruit evolving with time. The palate follows suit – a smoky background, but rich, luscious barley, mixed orchard fruit, and baking spice. The mouthfeel is terrific. It’s cragganmore – but with extra depth, and with smoke blended into the middle. The finish has nice grassy barley, smoke, peaty earth, orchard fruits, and a nice light tanginess.

I quite like this around 47% (4 parts whisky, 1 part water), the complexity and balance really shines through. I prefer it there to at cask strength, as I find with many light- or medium-bodied Scotch single malts. But, that said, it evolves more with time at cask strength.

Very Highly Recommended (18% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher). I’ve dropped publishing numerical scores for various reasons, but I still do them for my own purposes – which, in the case, is a 93/100 – in the 96th percentile of all whiskies I’ve rated! I think it’s a brilliant dram.

Value: Average, nearly high, even at $140! It goes to show how much I like this stuff - that, for me, it’s worth the money even at that price.