Let’s do another 25 yo today. Unlike Monday’s Caol Ila 25 from the Bladnoch forum, this was not bottled almost a decade ago. Which is not to say it is a very recent release: it was bottled in 2015 or 2016. It’s also an independent release, this time from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society. They gave it the “fun”, or more accurately, highly stupid name, “Charming Chalice of Cha-Cha-Cha”—which means that this is the rare occasion when one prefers to use their complicated coding system to refer to the cask. Said cask was a refill hogshead and represents the oldest Craigellachie I’ve yet tasted. It’s also the first ex-bourbon Craigellachie that I’ve tasted. As such, I have no expectations.
Looking forward yet again to our trip to the Speyside this June, I should ask if anyone particularly recommends an in-depth visit to Craigellachie. My plan is to do drive-by visits of a number of distilleries in that general area—Craigellachie among them—and only tour Aberlour. (Elsewhere in the Speyside, I will probably tour Benromach, Glen Moray and Glenfiddich). Again, as this is a family trip, I will be restricting myself to a single tour on the days that I do visit distilleries. Anyway, on to this Craigellachie!
Craigellachie 25, 1990 (52.2%; SMWS 44.67; refill hogshead; from a bottle split)
Nose: A big hit of apples to start (fresh, baked and cider) with pastry crust and some cream. On the second sniff it’s a bit maltier and there’s a bit of lemon zest. Gets more floral as it sits and then sweeter with the apples quickly replaced by poundcake with a lemon glaze, lots of frosting and a berry topping (I hope that’s specific enough). A little maltier maybe with water and less of the bright sweetness.
Palate: The lemon zest hits first and second, prickly and peppery. Nice, oily texture. More oak on the second sip but nothing tannic. The sweeter notes from the nose are not as forthcoming here. Not much change with time. Let’s see what water does. Less oak with water but nothing new shows up.
Finish: Long. All about the lemon zest and pepper and oak. A little sweeter with time. As on the palate with water.
Comments: This is a pleasant but not particularly remarkable whisky. It doesn’t have flaws but it also doesn’t have much complexity or really much to show for its age. I wouldn’t mind having a bottle of this as a summer sipper but not at the price I would likely have had to pay.
Rating: 85 points.