Whisky Review: Cragganmore Aged 12 Years Diageo Special Release 2019

Style: Sweet, Spicy and Smoky

Nose:
Okay, I have been warned – barbeque smoke with iodine drops and kelp, feels like a lite version of Lagavulin, intriguing. Something floral at the core is trying to escape the from smoky shackles. Barley and white flower surfacing to the top, while the rest remain on the isle of Islay. Mezcal, distilled vinegar and lemon tart giving a young peaty vibe. Just a hint of elusive wood smoke buried at the very bottom.

Palate:
Smoky water drizzling down onto barley field, apple crumples, sunflower seeds with a touch of orange citrus peel. Icing sugar on roasted almonds and banana bread, walnuts, iodine with crunchy bacon bits. Creamy notes and dried apricots undertone shining through and broaden the structure. Wood smoke, some subtle distillate greenness at the back palate. Finishes with barley husks and ester fruits.

Finish:
Barbeque smoke staying behind, orange candy, apricots, floral side notes, kelp and soft sea breeze. Subtle, creamy barley singing softly till the end.

Thoughts:
Serve this to me blind I would never have guessed this is a Cragganmore. The iodine, the smoke, the sweetness, in many ways it reminds me of a young and soft Islay whisky. Sure, they are flashes of rawness here and there, but as the profile progresses, the light Speyside spirit begins to show its fruity DNA, resulting a dram with an exquisite balance of fruits, barley, wood and smoke. I don’t know what is the intention of doing a smoky Cragganmore, but I quite enjoyed this new interpretation and hopefully we can see more of it in the future.

☆ [Recommended]

[58.4% | Original Bottling | Natural Cask Strength | Limited Edition | *-]

-Esmond