The third in my brief series on A.D. Rattray bottlings of little-known but active distilleries. (See Glen Ord and Macduff reviewed earlier). Like the other two, most people have never even heard of Craigellachie (Creg – alla – key). The distillery is now owned by Bacardi, and the new owners have begun releasing distillery-labelled bottlings (although I’ve never seen one in the USA). Of the three, I liked this one most. It showed complexity and an eclectic personality, with Sherry influence present but not overwhelming. Its relative youth served only to brighten flavors. A good example of why older is not always better.
Like the previously-reviewed A.D. Rattray malts, this is bottled at cask-strength (59.6% ABV), and has no color added or chill-filtration. Go A.D. Rattray!
Update: The distillery now has an official line of expressions. Here’s a review of the 13-year.
Distilled 8/20/2002, Bottled 5/17/2011
Nose: Anise, Lime juice. Not too prickly, despite youth. Gold raisins. Marshmallow and loads of vanilla frosting.
Palate: Soft, with good alcohol integration for an 8 year-old. Great soft sugars, specifically raw cane and simple syrup. Powdered sugar? Gold raisins.
Finish: Not too much burn, and medium-long. A little wood bitterness on the tail end, the only noticeable flaw.
With Water: The addition of water dulls the bright flavors a bit too much for me. I’d skip the water.
Overall: Nicely complex. This whisky does not toe the line of Speyside style, instead branching out in eclectic ways. Raw cane? Anise and lime juice? I would not have pegged this as a sherried Speysider. Very interesting, although the novelty might wear off after paying $66 for a full bottle. Certainly worth trying, especially if you’d like to cross another distillery off of your bucket list.