The Clynelish Select Reserve “flavour-led concept” (no age statement, cask strength… and a high price) was this year applied to Cragganmore. Without an age statement or even a name, it becomes hard to refer to, but luckily there are very few releases from this distillery. I guess this will simply be known as the Cragganmore 2016.
It was composed from three cask types: refill bourbon hogsheads, rejuvenated (recharred) bourbon and ex-bodega European oak sherry butts.
Cragganmore (55,7%, OB 2016, Special Release, 4932 btl.)
Nose: I really like this one. There’s sweet pear with apple, lime and apricot, but in a rather thick, jammy style. Mandarins on syrup. There’s quite some beeswax. Sweet oak. Marzipan. Tobacco. Light herbal notes and an earthy note in the background. Beautiful array of aromas.
Mouth: same combination of fruity notes with a savoury, fleshy side and some peppery heat. Fruit tea with honey. Waxy, almost fatty notes. Roasted almonds. Apple pastry. Definitely (pipe) tobacco now. Cocoa. Fades on salty liquorice and toast.
Finish: long, almost smoky, more more thick fruits and sweet oak.
This is just a very rich dram and complex dram. It’s robust but with lots of sweet fruits and lots of tiny aromas. The cask combination really works – it makes this Cragganmore the insider’s choice of this year’s Special Releases. Around € 500.