Cragganmore (great rock in Gaelic) is a Speyside distillery near Glenfarclas in Ballindalloch serving as one of the “Classic Malts” for Diageo. Cragganmore has the distinction of being the first distillery to have a direct rail connection to the distillery, and is today part of the direct gas line linking it with Glenlivet, Tormore and Tomintoul.
Active since 1869, the distillery style is a very gentle, lightly peated malt coming out of spirit stills designed for maximizing reflux with a boiling ball and a flat top. The lyne arms lead to external worm tubs, a feature done away with by most distilleries.
Cragganmore has a rather limited core range, with a 12 year old and a port finished Distiller’s Edition. In addition, the 2014 batch of the Diageo Special Releases included a 25 year old Cragganmore, which I have not tasted.
Malts of Scotland Cragganmore 15 Year Old, Cask 14015, Yield 247 Bottles (53.5%, NCF, NC)
Appearance: Straw with thin and slow forming legs.
Nose: Sweet lactic notes hit you first, ice cream, confectionery, toffee and butterscotch, sweet spices. Adding water brings out cinnamon.
Palate: Pepper, some fruitiness, sweet apples, somewhat reminiscent of bourbon.
Linger: Long and spicy, then sweetness and spiciness come in on the center of the tongue.
This expression is pretty lactic, but in a good way. I really disliked the Bruichladdich Scottish Barley for it’s lactic nose, but this Cragganmore taks you into the realm of ice cream and butterscotch, not baby puke.
Who said lactic can’t work for whisky?