Category Archives: Craigellachie

Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar dram # 17 – A.D. Rattray’s 2008 Craigellachie, Cask # 900861


Region – Speyside – ABV – 58%

Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar 2015Today’s whisky is the second Craigellachie in the Advent Calendar however this one is bottled at full cask strength by A.D. Rattray. The first one being a 12yo bottled at 46% by Weymss Malts.

A young sherry cask matured whisky (this at 6 years of age) is likely to excite the senses. Perhaps even wake you up – especially given the ABV of 58%. The youngest Craigellachie I’ve had was 8yo and that, too, was a single sherry cask from A.D. Rattray. It was a killer release.

Let’s see what this one does.

On the nose — Peanut brittle masks the most unusual note of bile upon first sniff.

Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar 2015After a minute or so, that bile note goes far away and we are now presented with a series of very strong scents such as: leather wallets, grilled apricots, burnt popsicle sticks, cotton candy, hot vinyl seating in a 70’s Chevy Nova, hot wax, and childhood memories.

In the mouth — VERY spirit forward here, almost new make-y. Sour pear, salted licorice, nectarine pit, dry hay on a humid summer day.

I would never have guessed 58% ABV. As youthful as the flavors are, this is a very easy whisky to hold in your mouth.

Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar 2015A few more notes before we get to the finish — green bar printer paper, printer ink cartridges, and more hot vinyl seating.

Finish — Medium in length, pears and nectarine pit hold out.

In sum — Surely a fun whisky but one that I think would have benefited from a few more years in the cask. The spirit character is great to experience here. However, more time in cask to develop would have been the best choice in my opinion. It’s worth your time in a line up of various whiskies but nothing to just sit and relax with.

Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar dram # 8 – Weymss Malts “Dark Treacle Fondant” Craigellachie 12yo, Cask # 900095


Region – Speyside – 46% ABV

Having one of the more difficult distillery names to pronounce, Craigellachie is a massive distillery located in the distillery-rich Speyside region of Scotland –  just a few miles from the Aberlour distillery.

This powerhouse produces 4.1 million litres of spirit per year (!!). After having toured the distillery this past May, I was surprised to see more references to the Dewars blend throughout the distillery as opposed to references to the actual distillery name itself. Then I reminded myself that the purpose of this production house was not for Single Malt (even though they just released some age statement whiskies – 13, 17, 19 & 23 years old). No, the purpose of Craigellachie is to provide malt whisky for your various Dewars products.

If you ever find yourself in Scotland, be sure to check out the Craigellachie distillery. Its massive production house factory-like feel acts as a great counterpoint to more classic style distilleries such as GlenDronach, Aberlour, Glenmorangie and many others.  After your visit to the distillery, head over to the Craigellachie Hotel for a dram or four.

IMG_6528On Advent Calendar Day # 8, we’ve got another malt bottled by Weymss Malts. And wouldn’t you know it? It’s a Craigellachie.

This one is titled “Dark Treacle Fondant.” Have a think on that name while we pour the whisky into our glasses.

One the nose — Oh, that name is so suggestive. It smells of cake fondant!  There’s even this waxy-like texture in the nose and the scents start off with dark chocolate and toasted brazil nuts.

Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar 2015I am then hit by the smell of sweet barbecue sauce on the grill on the day you re-open your outside cooking apparatus.  Hints of licorice and hazelnut nougut rubbed with confectioners sugar.

In the mouth — Highly decedent stuff. While the mouthfeel is not super thick, the flavors sure are.

Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar 2015Let the laundry list begin: Molasses,  Nutella, dark chocolate, rubber tires, burnt applesauce, old-school lickable stamps (the sticky side), fruit cake, candied orange peels, cloves, on and on, and on and on, and on and on (was that last bit grammatically correct? Was any of this grammatically correct?)

A little spice at the back of the throat: tell-tale sign of sherry butt matured whisky.

Finish — Really just a fading version o the favors I go on the palate.

In sum — If you like your sherried whiskies, the one would be right up your alley. It ticks all the boxes. The more I drink Craigellachie, the more I like it.

Three various Single Casks in the Chieftain’s range: Jura, Glen Kieth and Craigellachie


Various regions of Scotland…  3 different single casks bottled for the Chieftain’s range.

After a few quick points, we will get straight on to the reviews today!

Special thanks to the folks from ImpEx for the cask samples!

To learn more about the Chieftain’s Range in general, click here.

Chieftain’s Glen Kieth 17yo bottled at 54.9% ABV

On the nose  A light peat influence here, or so it would seem.

Salty, hay and a touch of candy-like lemon drops (a thread of smoke?).

Sherry-like influence (getting hints of Amontillado) but also sort of bourbon in character (think wood spice, honey and even a shake of white pepper).

A fun little nose, if a little confused.

On the mouth Light white berries, unripened plums, sugared plums as well.

Biscuits, undercooked.  Pie crusts… Oh!  Gooseberry pie.  This is nice.

Somewhat simple but nice and focused.

Lightly oily slightly effervescent feel to it.

Finish –  Shortish with, again, a thread of smoke.

Chieftain’s Jura 12yo bottled at 58.4% ABV

On the nose Few whiskies yell at me from the glass saying, “Hey Hatton, I was distilled at such and such distillery… duh!!!” like Jura yells at me.

It always seems to start off with a note that I can only call Eeore’s thistles – like burning pricker bushes.

On top of this is a slight soapy quality.  People get a little freaked out about a soap quality in a whisky.  For me, done right, the soap “quality” can be just that, a “quality.”

The soap on this is within tolerance but surely on the higher side.

There’s also a touch of lavender in here as well as calking.

On the mouth Very industrial to taste, window putty, calking, wet cement.

Pushing these notes to the side and now we discover some great gristy notes.  You can taste the wash (beer to be distilled into spirit) but it’s very beer-like.  Lager-like.  But, a good lager (sans hops, obviously).

Rainbow candy buttons.

Finish Short and slightly drying.

Chieftain’s Craigellachie 21yo bottled at 58.3% ABV

On the nose You can see why they use so much of this malt in the Dewar’s blend.  It’s got a nice, balanced nose.

Let me start of with the fact that, even at 58.3%ABV, it’s not hot on the nose.  The scents are all right there.

This noses like a 21yo:  Wood spice and dill covered lemon slices.  Green wood and honey spice.  Apple sauce with brown spices.  Are you catching a theme here?  Tough to get beyond the spiced quality.

I’m a fan of the spice bombs so, let see how it translates in the flavor profile.

Adding a dash of water brings out some notes of pool water and gobs of malt!

On the mouth Yeah, yeah… this is it.  This is what I look for in, say, some of the older Dailuaines…  Fruity little spice bombs.

This is, however, just a little hot.  Without water, we’ve got baked pears with a slight hint of cloves.  Also, vanilla.  A good deal of vanilla.  Yeah, water is needed with this one.

Not just to temper the heat but the water *really* opens up this whisky!

Ooey flan comes to mind as I take another sip.  Browned sugar and candied fennel.

Finish A long and overly spiced finish.  Perhaps a bit too spiced (if there were such a thing).  Wow, very long.

In sum

Glen Kieth:  An interesting whisky.  My first Glen Kieth.  Over all, I liked it.  I wonder what a few more years in the cask might have done for this whisky…

Jura: Yeah, this is an odd one.  Over all, while it was a little all over the place, I enjoyed drinking it.  Nosing it was enjoyable mainly because it’s got that Jura oddness that has you coming back for more.  This really is a winter-warmer-upper!

Craigellachie: With a dash of water, I am incredibly impressed with this cask.  It tells a wonderfully balanced story from beginning to end (with the spice volume turned up just a touch too high at the finish).  Without the water….well, I suggest you add a dash.  Should you get a bottle, you’ll see what I mean.  This is one where the extra H20 makes an incredible difference.

For more solid reviews of Chieftain’s reviews, be sure to check out Peter’s (of “The Casks” fame) reviews.