Cragganmore 12 Special Release 2019 | 58.4% ABV | Bottled 2019

Despite being a part of Diageo’s Classic Malts range and being generally available, I haven’t had a lot of experience with Cragganmore. However, I do have a soft spot for distilleries experimenting with their product.

In 2006 there was a drought and subsequent water shortage on the isle of Sky. Because they didn’t know how long this was going to take, they decided to produce a back-up in case Talisker had to temporarily seize production.

They started to produce peated spirit at Cragganmore for about 3-4 months, peated to Talisker-like levels. For Diageo’s 2019 Special Releases, they brought out this peated version of Cragganmore, aged 12 years in refill American Oak and bottled at a cask strength of 58,4%

Colour: Light gold

Nose: Light to medium peat combined with orchard fruits. I’m getting red apples and grapes, reine claude plums as well. There’s a minty note to be found too. With some time, I’m getting added hints of marzipan, wax and honey.

Palate: Quite a strong arrival with a nice and oily texture coating the mouth. Peat and spices are up first, think black pepper and cloves. A more aggressive arrival than I would have thought. It then gets smoothed by white grapes and grapefruit, along with an earthy note. You could really draw comparisons with Ardmore.

Finish: A long finish with white fruit, oak tannins and lingering smoke.

The juxtaposition of the classic fruity speysider notes and the almost Talisker-esque peat works very well here and is nicely balanced. Easy to sip but the complexity is there if you want to dig a little deeper.

88/100

Thank you Mario for the sample!