Oh no, not another one of those Old Malt Cask 20th anniversary releases! Yes, I’m afraid. so. I’ve already reviewed 57 or so of them and here’s another one. This is a 13 yo Croftengea distilled in 2005 and it has me hoping that it might be almost as good as that 9 yo bottled by the Whisky Exchange last year, or at least as good as the SMWS 15 yo from 2017. Like the Whisky Exchange release, this is from a bourbon cask. Also, most of the other OMC 20th anniversary releases I’ve reviewed have been pretty good—so the odds are good, right? That’s what I told myself anyway when I purchased a bottle a day after going in on this split but before tasting this sample. Let’s see if I’m going to regret that hastiness.
Croftengea 13, 2005 (50%; OMC, 20th Anniv. Release; from a bottle split)
Nose: Big peat, farmy, rubbery—rather Ledaig’ish though without as much of the dead rodent in wet undergrowth. On the second sniff there’s some lemon mixed in there as well. With time and then a few drops of water it gets more acidic and the smoke gets ashier and also more phenolic.
Palate: Not as farmy or rubbery on the palate, in fact, not very much so at all. A lot of smoke, some cured meat. Alas, no fruit here either. Nice texture at 50% though. The peat expands with every sip, getting ashier as it goes. A little sweeter with time. Let’s see what water brings out. More acidic here too with water and there’s some wet stones as well.
Finish: Long. The smoke keeps going for a while. Sweeter and less smoky with water.
Comments: Alas, this does not have the fruit of the last two Croftengeas I reviewed—in fact, it has no fruit at all (beyond the lemon on the nose). Considering this was distilled between the other two and matured (for the most part) in a similar way it’s hard to explain this except to guess that the distillery may have been making different profiles for different blending needs. Or maybe this is the norm and the others were flukes. Or vice versa. More experimentation needed. As noted, I purchased a full bottle of this before tasting this sample. Given the reasonable price, I’m not disappointed with that decision—I’ll be interested to track how that develops once I open the bottle.
Rating: 85 points.
The Hepburn’s Choice Croftengea 2006/12yo that K&L had until recently was utterly disappointing (plus, and separately, not much peat). There must be something going on there.