This week of sherry cask reviews began with a 6 yo old Amrut on Monday and continued with an 11 yo Aberlour on Wednesday. Let’s end now with a 15 yo Craigellachie. This was bottled by Old Particular for K&L in California—I think I might only have one or maybe two samples left to still review from the big split I went in on of their 2021/22 casks. Anyway, sherry cask Craigellachie can be a very good thing indeed—the savoury character of the distillate holds up well to and, indeed, complements sherry cask maturation. So I thought, for example, of the last single sherry cask of Craigellachie I reviewed (an official distillery release for the US market). That said, I was not quite as impressed by the one before that: a 14 yo bottled by, Hepburn’s Choice—like Old Particular, another Laing label—for, yes, K&L. Then, again, I very much liked the one I reviewed before that one: a 16 yo also bottled by Old Particular for K&L. Let’s hope this one is in that vein.
Craigellachie 15, 2006 (57.7%; Old Particular for K&L; sherry butt; from a bottle split)
Nose: Ah yes, that very Craigellachie “dirty” sherry complex with farmy notes running through a fair bit of citrus (orange peel, lemon). Quite salty on the second sniff (think heavily salted pistachios) and the citrus edges towards apple cider vinegar (was this an ex-fino or manzanilla butt?). As it sits, some sweeter fruit begins to peek out from underneath (berries of some kind). With a few drops of water the orange peel comes to the front, picking up a bit of apricot as well; the bone-dry salty notes are still around too.
Palate: Comes in with a more savoury character here with quite a bit of crushed nuts alongside the orange peel; the farmy notes register more as char here. Quite approachable at full strength with a rich texture. Drier as it goes with a slightly chalky note developing. With more time still the orange peel expands. Okay, let’s see what water does. It blends the orange peel and the salt nicely and the nuts are lightly roasted now; some roasted malt in there too.
Finish: Long. A bit of sherry separation at first but it resolves quickly enough. After that it’s about citrus and salt, with the salt getting the last word. As on the palate with water, with the richer notes coming to the fore at the end.
Comments: Well, this was very nice. A good mix of dry and farmy sherry notes when taken neat and richer with water. Not a generic sherry malt at all. Not sure how much it went for but I’d be happy if I’d picked up a bottle of this for a reasonable price.
Rating: 87 points.