Behind the Highlander/Craigellachie 14, 2006 (Hepburn’s Choice for K&L)

Hepburn’s Choice/K&L’s 2020 casks/Speyside week started on Monday with a teaspooned 13 yo Mortlach and continues today with a teaspooned 14 yo whisky from a distillery located not too far away from Mortlach: Craigelllachie. Like Mortlach, Craigellachie is known for a robust spirit and largely for its sherry cask or at least sherry-involved incarnations. While Monday’s Mortlach was a bourbon cask, this Craigellachie is from a refill sherry cask. Let’s see if it ends up being a more characteristic expression of the distillery’s output than the Mortlach was.

Behind the Highlander/Craigellachie 14, 2006 (51.7%; Hepburn’s Choice for K&L; refill sherry butt; from a bottle split)

Nose: Quite rubbery off the top but there’s some sweeter stuff below, both floral and fruity (berries). The rubbery note recedes as it sits but never goes away completely. After 10 minutes or so, however, it’s all about the sweeter notes. More acid here too with time (lime). With a few drops of water there’s quite a bit of cream.

Palate: As signaled by the nose at first as it leads with the rubber and then eases into the sweeter notes. Then there’s a fair bit of char as I swallow. The texture is rich. As it sits there’s a chemical, slightly astringent note mixed in with the char and rubber. The acid pops out earlier on the palate as it sits and it works well with the cracked pepper the char transitions into—the astringent note, I am glad to say, burns off. Okay, let’s see what water does. It pushes back the char here, emphasizes the citrus and brings out some leafy notes.

Finish: Medium. The char continues and then it gets acidic. Develops as on the palate as it sits. As on the palate with water at first but then the char and leafy notes come back at the end. Oh yes, the finish is much longer with water.

Comments: The rubbery thing was a bit worrying at first but it burned off quickly and this settled down nicely. Not something I’d want to drink every day but nothing I would ever turn down. There are only a couple of bottles (literally) left at K&L but I think it’s a good price for a non-cookie cutter malt.

Rating: 84 points.
EW! Rating: 105/100 points.



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