This whisky earned 94 points at the Ultimate Spirits Challenge, and is said to have, “the most complex nose of any malt whisky.”
Situated in the Speyside region of Scotland, the Cragganmore Distillery was founded by John Smith in 1870. Smith heralded from a dynastic whisky family — his family had previously been involved in the operation of the Macallan, Glenfarclas and Glenlivet distilleries, and he was related to George Smith, the founder of the Glenlivet Distillery. The name of the distillery (Cragganmore translates to "big rock" in ancient Galiec) is from derived the greenstone rocks sourced from a nearby hill that were used to build the distillery's infrastructure and maturation warehouses. Upon Smith's death in 1886, his son largely rebuilt the distillery and refurbished its equipment while preserving its traditional distillation techniques.
Today, the Cragganmore Distillery continues to honor the Smith legacy by crafting a unique single malt whisky made exclusively from lightly smoked barley. Once the barley arrives at the distillery, it is mashed in one of the distillery's six stainless steel mashtuns before being fermented in washbacks made of European larch. While larch washbacks are more difficult and expensive to maintain as compared to steel washbacks, they absorb a portion of the heat generated during fermentation and thus, contribute to a more robust flavor profile.
Following fermentation, the whisky is distilled twice through Cragganmore's copper-pot stills. The distillery's unique, flat-topped spirit stills (most distilleries have swan-shaped stills) and traditional worm-tubs (most distilleries use cooling condensers) contribute additional complexity and flavor to the whisky.
After the whisky has been distilled, Cragganmore 12 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky is aged for twelve years in second-fill bourbon casks. The distillery uses second-fill casks to subdue the woodiness that is often imparted by lengthy aging in virgin or first-fill ex-bourbon casks. As a result, the whisky has a straw gold color and beautiful floral aroma, with added notes of sage, rosemary, honey and peanut butter brittle. The palate is filled with hazelnuts, dark chocolate and lavender, and leads to a subtle finish that is marked by oak, almonds, light smoke and vanilla.
Cragganmore 12 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky earned 94 points at the Ultimate Spirits Challenge, and is said to have, “the most complex nose of any malt whisky,” according to the esteemed whisky writer Michael Jackson.
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80 (40% ABV)
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Straw gold color and beautiful floral aroma, with added notes of sage, rosemary, honey and peanut butter brittle. The palate is filled with hazelnuts, dark chocolate and lavender, and leads to a subtle finish that is marked by oak, almonds, light smoke and vanilla.