Sunday 4 June 2017

[Scotland Stag] Raid on the Craig: Craigellachie Hotel Round One

Hi everybody!

Continuing after the Glendronach tour we headed back over to Aberlour and decided to walk down to the Craigellachie Hotel. For those that don’t know, it has an epic whisky bar that I’d heard was a must. But it exceeded all expectations. The bar part is called The Quaich and has over 900 whiskies to choose from.
It was an incredible night, made all the better by Lyndsey Gray, the bar’s manager. Her knowledge of every single whisky, cocktail and everything really, was amazing.

We had the first whisky outside, as it was quite busy in the bar, but it was lovely to just sit there and watch the sun slowly set. I made sure to only have a few good whiskies and take the time to appreciate them.

From looking at the whisky menu beforehand, I knew they had a 1973 Ledaig and knew I HAD to try it. I found the bottle on the shelf but it looked empty! Luckily it had one and a half shots left and Lyndsey gave me the last half shot for free! Oh, and then let me keep the bottle.

Ledaig 1973 Cheiftains (Bottled 2005) 53%

Colour: Gold
Body: Full
Nose: Sharp old wood at first. Musky, dunnage, fruity with red apple and black pepper, like an old Talisker, faded salt and peaty flour (That part of the grist), floral too with some small bitter berries. Nice complexity.
Taste: Big, old, musky dunnage warehouse, old wood, red apple, cracked black pepper, very dry but oily, then salty as well, old faded peat. (Think Ledaig was more heavily peated back then).
Finish: Long/Very Long length. On and on with layers of black pepper spice, old oak and forgotten old oils.
From a Hogshead, part of three exclusive bottlings for something or other. This got a bit fruitier with water, but was great at cask strength actually. Not quite into the 90’s but very close.

Laphroaig 16 SMWS 29.194 50.7%
”Sausage Sandwiches and Oil Rigs”
Colour: Gold
Body: Full
Nose: Oh, come on! So different, so unique. Petrol fumes, a bit of diesel too maybe, sausage rolls fresh out the oven. Uniquely oily. With water it’s more ethereal but also dirtier with soot, pine and salt and pepper crisps.
Taste: Again, very unique. Soft arrival then a HUGE petrol-y blast with elegant minerality backing, reminding me of Riesling. A little of that sausage roll, meaty pastry, a little spicy ginger. Opens up with water, and rewards small sips.
Finish: Long length. Taking a swig of petrol from the pump. Delicious.
Yeah, maybe one of the most delicious whiskies I’ve ever had. Just an absolute pleasure to drink. Puts a huge stupid smile on my face. Bottled from a refill Bourbon barrel for the opening of a member’s room in Nurnburg.

Bowmore 17 SMWS 3.293 57%
”Occident meets Orient”
Colour: Gold
Body: Full
Nose: A lovely tropical Bowmore, lovely salty note, nice malt, slightly funky, a little frying pork fat, mango. Even more tropical fruit with water.
Taste: Sour hit, amazing, hugely tropical, really balance, salty, great lime citrus, a little oak, great warehouse and malting floor notes. Some spicy white pepper with water.
Finish: Medium length. Softens, oily sweetness with some citrus.
This was great. I’ve got to get me some more SMWS bottlings.

u/generalbirdy let me try some of his Bowmore he was trying too and I managed to make some quick notes:
Bowmore Devil’s Casks III 56.7%
Colour: Amber
Body: Medium
Nose: Intensely sweet and soft, raisin, fig, very little smoke.
Taste: Rich sweetness, again very little peat or smoke, some salt, raisin, plum and fig.
Finish: Short length. Dead inside, a little thin.
Bowmore without a soul. Everyone raves about Bowmore in Sherry but I’ve always found it shines in Bourbon at cask strength. Outrageous price too.
Ledaig 2000 G&M Elgin Shop Exclusive 50%
Colour: Dark Amber
Body: Medium
Nose: Much softer an less smoky than many Ledaig’s. Very Sherried, classically meaty with some peppery meat, lovely fruit with plum and fig.
Taste: Intensely sweet, plum, raisin and fig fruit, lovely brown sugar, lime citrus balancing, then some oak and a little meat.
Finish: Medium/Long length. Fruity with brown sugar, complexity from the peat.
From a Sherry Hogshead, bottled 2015. Rich but much softer than many Ledaig’s, the cask has taken over much of the smoke. It’s lovely though.

u/generalbirdy also had an Octomore 7.1, which I hadn’t tried yet, so I’ve made some quick notes on that too.

Octomore 7.1 59.5%
Colour: Light Gold
Body: Full
Nose: At 208ppm there is no peat or smoke at all. Very surprisingly fruity, very mineral, meaty fruit.
Taste: Intensely mineral, with lots of red wine fruitiness (although I think this is just from Bourbon barrels), very similar to 7.2 actually.
Finish: Long length. Powerful but also soft sweetness then condensed milk.
Really interesting, also exactly the same as I remember 7.2 being, which of course is great.

An amazing evening, more to come!
Thanks for reading!

Scotch Reviews #386-#391
Whisky Network Reviews #432-#437

Network Average: 74.5
Best Score: 92
Worst Score: 44
0-49 Terrible
50-59 Bad
60-64 Just About OK
65-69 Ok to Good
70-74 Good
75-79 Very Good
80-84 Excellent
85-89 Superb
90+ Magnificent

Full Disclosure Disclaimer: I currently work as a Brand Ambassador for Penderyn Distillery. The views expressed here are purely my own and do not reflect the views of Penderyn Distillery or The Welsh Whisky Company. I try to maintain as much objectivity as I can but feel free to take my reviews with as big a pinch of salt as you like. Furthermore, my rating scale is NOT based on a Parker type wine scoring scale or a school/college/university % or A-F grade score. You can find more on my scoring here. I apologise for any seemly low or 'bad' scores given with my system and am sorry I can't say only nice things. Please keep in mind that I am ethically compromised and am unable to produce 100% unbiased reviews.

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