The last couple of years has seen the Craigellachie brand rocket in popularity. Widely recognised as one of the more acquired tastes it has won praise from the media and competition judges.

Currently, being marketed as a premium product with apparently the credentials to match. Today we review the entry level 13 year old (because that’s all we can afford).

The Distillery

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You could be forgiven for thinking Craigellachie is one of the more recent additions to Speyside with its brutalist architecture from the 1960’s. In fact, the distillery dates back to 1891 being founded by a group of merchants. The current buildings were built in the early 1960’s which accounts for the now dated designs.

Currently owned by Bacardi it sits in a family of whisky distilleries owned by the parent company including Aberfeldy, Aultmore, MacDuff and Royal Brackla. Craigellachie is definitely the premium line in the portfolio with the core range running from the £50 13 year old to the £2000+ 31 year old which won a couple of awards and made a bit of noise in the social media world.

The production of spirit at Craigellachie minimises the amount of copper contact with the spirit. The result is a spirit which is quite sulphury and meaty in character. It is this aspect which gives Craigellachie the reputation as a bit of a marmite dram.

The Dram

Craigellachie 13 is bottled at 46% ABV and is natural colour. It’s bottled without harsh filtering and can be found world wide from most good retailers. For a while in the UK it was even available in the upmarket store Marks & Spencer.

You can expect to pay just under £50

Tasting Notes

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Colour – Corn flour

Nose – Oh bags of fruits: apples, pears, passion fruits. The fruit is fizzy and slightly fermented so think like boiled sweets and apple cider. A touch of caramel and honey too.

Palate – The texture is big thick and luxurious. There is sulphur and esters for sure here as well. More caramel and some crack of pepper.

Finish – The finish isn’t massively long but it is very bitter and astringent. Sour tang of wood sap. Quite the roller coaster of a dram.

Final Thoughts

This whisky is an experience and really does take you on a journey. Which just about covers all the cliches in one sentence (tick in that box!)

However, in all seriousness this is a great dram and well worth the money. You have to be ok with the bitterness and touch of sulphur but it is worth a go just to say you have tried it if nothing else.

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