This was released as part of the second wave in the controversial Manager’s Choice series. It was a collection of rare single casks from the Diageo brands. While some of them seem to be of high quality, there was little interest because of the high prices considering the young ages.
I’m glad I could try this, as official Cragganmore releases have been few and far between. It was distilled in May 1997 and bottled in May 2009 from a European oak Bodega sherry casks.
Cragganmore 12 yo 1997 ‘The Manager’s Choice’ (59,7%, OB 2009, cask #2398,
Nose: white fruit aromas and citrus, summery and quite floral. Some vanilla and biscuits. Faint waxy notes and some oil. A hint of mint and undertones of smoke. Really nice but hardly any sherry. In line with the standard 12yo, only more complex and punchy.
Mouth: strong and powerful, a bit hot even. Very thick and full of flavour. Rather sweet, with honey, vanilla and plenty of spices (mint, ginger, a little pepper). Oranges. Spicy fruitcake? Perfect amount of wood. Water rounds it off and makes it smokier in the aftertaste.
Finish: spices (mostly ginger) and a hint of smoke.
A great Cragganmore that I enjoyed a lot. On the other hand there’s no way I can recommend a 12 year-old that costs around € 280.