We’ll start our yearly look at Diageo’s Special Releases with this Cragganmore 20 Year Old, an age never released from this distillery. This 1999 vintage is matured in a combination of refill and new, freshly charred hogsheads.
Cragganmore 20 yo 1999 (55,8%, OB Special Releases 2020, refill and freshly charred casks)
Nose: sweet, rather oily, with a good dose of fresh, slightly grassy oak. Bananas, yellow plums and ripe pears. Whiffs of beeswax. Crème brûlée. A lightly fragrant touch as well, almost glue. Hints of shortbread and walnuts as well.
Mouth: starts with sweet, creamy notes – plums and tangerines. It is quickly overtaken by grainy notes, oak polish and a good dose of burnt wood, including a light bitterness. Ginger and menthol, as well as liquorice and hints of Turkish coffee.
Finish: medium, still on charred notes, ginger, apple compote and marmalade.
This is quite a punched up, oak-driven expression of Cragganmore. The new oak brings a layer of charred flavours and spice, but also added sweetness. One of my favourites this year. Available from TyndrumWhisky or The Whisky Exchange for instance, or your local retailer of course.