The Diageo offshoot is mostly only used for the department store blends. There are hardly any original bottlings. Apart from the 12-year-old standard bottling and the obligatory Distillers editions, there are only a handful of average whiskys left.
If you pair such a whisky with the fad of Duncan-Taylor, the "Octave Cask", not much good can come out. For traditional whisky freaks, this is all a no go. And I'm more of a conservative freak.
Corona had ruined our trip to Scotland in September and we had decided to order and taste some whiskys on the Internet. Among them was the 27-year-old Cragganmore, who with over 400.00 EUR wasn't exactly a bargain.
If you leave out the distillery and the octave bottling, we had a really good and strong sherry bomb in the glass that knew how to impress.
Ok, every bottler tries to break new ground and find new sales markets. But not everything that is new has to be bad at the same time, because someone wants to earn (very) well on this whisky.
For me, the only thing that counts is the result in the glass, and objectively that was so good that you could have guessed a Glendronach in a blind tasting.
If you are willing to spend the 400.00 EUR, you will not get a world-class whisky, but a very, very good whisky that should do well in a blind tasting.
It wasn't the best whisky of 2020, but it exceeded my expectations many times over. Maybe because I had no expectations and probably would never have bought this bottle myself.
Clear sherry notes, light wood aromas, nutty aromas come through, cinnamon, speculoos, almonds. Christmas spices, light vanilla flavors. Minimal acidity. The flower meadows of the Highlands herald themselves. Dried fruits in the background that gradually come to the fore.
Very strong sherry aromas and dried fruits come up immediately, raisins, dates. Rather dry in the mouth. Then blood oranges appear, which was already announced by the smell of the slight acidity. Cinnamon, nutmeg, maybe cardamom or something like that. Dark chocolate and toffee are noticeable.
Slightly longer finish that lets the wood aromas come out more clearly. The dried fruits also stay in the mouth longer. Toffee and vanilla come out more clearly, but are pushed back by the oranges. Oily nutty flavors come through.
Overall, little sherry sweetness, but strong dominant aromas, as are typical of over 20-year-old whiskys.