Craigellachie Scotch Review

By George Brozowski

If that theorem I proposed last week holds true (that you can always tell a good scotch by the fact that the name is impossible to pronounce, even harder to spell and can never be easily remembered) then this Craigellachie single malt Scotch should be really good, or else I'm just simply full of it!

Craigellachie literally means rocky hill because that's where the distillery is located in Speyside at the confluence of the River Fiddich and the river Spey.

Now, here's where it goes from country bucolic to Frankenstein weird; they are one of the last places you will find worm tubs in use. What in the hell are worm tubs? Well, let me reassure you that they don't make scotch from worms. Quite the contrary; they use worm tubs (snaking copper condensers) to cool their scotch and bestow it with extra flavor sometimes described as meaty! Meaty scotch, really!?! Well, why not, I can believe it because I have already tasted salty scotch and even liked it so why not meaty scotch?

Even though they have been around since 1891, very little of their scotch has been released as a single malt because most of their production goes into making the Dewar's blends. They finally started releasing a single malt only in 2004. Since they've been at this for quite a long time, I can't wait to get my mouth around this scotch and see if it really is meaty or maybe they're just full of it!

This scotch comes in a large yellow round cardboard container that exactly reflects the labels on the bottle. And let me tell you, these labels contain the entire history of the distillery, its geography, how it's made, and everything unique about it. It's practically the entire history of Scotland and distillation all set forth in the tiniest type font imaginable and, arguably, if printed out on 8X10 paper there would probably be enough copy to create a book the size of War and Peace.

The scotch itself is a golden honey color. The nose is initially a honeysuckle sweet fruity pear and apricot combination that quickly begins to exhibit a smoky woody backside along with a vanilla cinnamon pairing. It is very mellow and laid back with almost no ethanol fumes. 13 years in the cask has certainly tamed this wild child. On the palate, the smoky, oaky notes come on first and foremost, followed by the fruit and vanilla and cinnamon, with hints of nuts and toffee bringing up the rear. The finish is long and quite smooth with the sweetness of the fruit again coming out first, followed by the vanilla and smoke and oak.

This is quite a nice scotch whose taste should make it easier to remember and pronounce and spell. It has a bit fuller mouth taste and feel that one might interpret as "meaty" but it absolutely does not taste anything like meat per se. OK, so they're not full of it because their scotch is meaty as in flavorful and tasty, not as in pork chops or chicken. I also still think it's hard to pronounce and spell but it's darn good which means no one is full of it, not even me.

Craigelliche single malt scotch can be found for around $67.00 per 750 ml bottle and weighs in at 46% ABV.

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