Product Type: Cragganmore Distillery Vodka
Newest Review: ... do it for me! Colour: Light amber, honey gold. Taste: Flowers with vanilla and herbs. Old woody, mildly peaty, very mildly! Hint... more
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Cragganmore 12 Year Old Whisky
Member Name: gillyman
Cragganmore 12 Year Old Whisky
Date: 06/02/02, updated on 15/12/02 (425 review reads)
Advantages: Complex Aroma, A good introduction
Disadvantages: Will be drank too fast!
If familiarity breeds contempt, I am in imminent danger of becoming exceedingly contemptuous of the Cragganmore! I blame the parents quite frankly - my Father introduced me to it and Mum keeps on buying me more at the Duty Free as a result of me mentioning that I like it (10 or 12 times). Now quite honestly what chance do I have with that kind of example (your honour)?!
Back in the hazy past, as a newcomer to Single Malts, I decided that the United Distillers range of Classic Malts, chosen to reflect the main characteristics of the different whisky producing regions of Scotland, would be a good place to begin my education. If you are new to the delights of whisky, or would like to learn a little on the subject, this is a very easy (and enjoyable!) virtual tour of Scotland's regions and one that I would thoroughly recommend. To try to explain verbally the vast differences between Scotches can be very difficult. Line up a Lagavulin and a Cragganmore in front of a sceptical punter and your point will be quickly made in a way that leaves everybody happy (as long as you pour a generous measure!)
Speyside is home to more distilleries than any of the other whisky producing regions. Amongst them are some of Scotland's most famous distilleries and to have been chosen to represent this region, immediately suggests that there is something special awaiting your taste buds.
For the record, the other whiskies in the range are Lagavulin (Islay), Talisker (Higlands), Dalwhinnie (Highlands), Glenkinchie (Lowlands) and Oban (Western Highlands). Each has a different style and taste and each acts as a paradigm for its region.
A brief history
The Cragganmore distillery was set up at the foot of Craggan Mor (hill) in 1869 by a chap named John Smith, by all accounts a giant of a man who had also had interests in various other distilleries including Macallan, Glenlivet and Glenfarclas. It lies on Speysi
de near Ballindalloch Castle in a part of the country that is renowned for its greenery and crystal clear streams.
When he kicked the barrel in 1886, John passed the distillery on to his son George who continued the good work, including an extensive rebuilding programme in 1901. In 1923, The distillery was acquired by the Cragganmore Distillery Co. Ltd., a susidiary of White Horse Distillers Ltd. Now the licensed distillers are D & J McCallum Ltd. of Edinburgh.
For many years, this magnificent product was mainly destined for export. Since it was chosen to represent Speyside in the Classic Malts range, it has become far better known and a larger number of people appreciate it as a result.
The regular 12 year old comes in an understated, cream coloured box with a grey illustration. The label is very similar and although it has been changed recently, it is merely a simple cosmetic change (which was probably done after months of consultation and thousands of pounds expense!)
Speyside whiskies are generally described in terms of sweetness. In stark contrast to the Islay region, they have little peat in them although you will occasionally detect a certain smokiness. Their aromas are often reminiscent of some sort of solvent with nail varnish remover frequently cropping up as an illustration. You will often also find Speysiders to have flowery or fruity bouquets.
With this is mind, its on to the bit that you've been waiting for! Grab yourself a glass and pour a healthy measure. Note the beautiful golden colour! Many afficionados like to add a drop or two of Scottish mineral water to release the flavours, others will tell you that the only thing that you should add to a single malt is more single malt! As this is bottled at the usual strength of 40%, I don't think that it really requires or benefits
from watering down. You may like to experiment and see what you prefer.
Stick your nose into the glass and have a good sniff around as the nose is extremely sensitive and will give you a good clue as to what you're going to be drinking. The aroma is complex. You should detect flowers, and grass mixed with a certain amount of smoke.
Now take a good sip - enough to cover the tongue. You'll note that the Scotch has a very smooth body. Its flavour is sweet, clean and delicate and is well balanced with some flowery, herbal flavours. You'll be left with a long and lingering finish tingling on your tongue with elements of malt and smoke.
This is a good tipple to introduce someone to the delights of whisky with. Although complex, the flavours are not overpowering or unusual in the way that Islays are. This is a wonderful introduction that also generally commands high scores from the experts! Like me, I'm sure that you'll come back for more and if you do you should bear in mind that there are different bottlings available for a little variation on a theme.
Cragganmore is available in every Duty Free that I have visited in the past 5 years and should be fairly easy to come by in most decent alcohol retailers.
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