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Thursday, September 20, 2018

Craigellachie 20 year old 1995 Old Particular, cask 10962

Craigellachie Week Continues!
Tuesday - 14 year old 2000 from Old Malt Cask
Wednesday - 18 year old 1995 Old Malt Cask, cask 10589

Another 1995 sherry butt from the Laing family. This time it's a 20 year old from Douglas Laing's Old Particular series. This was the matchup I was really looking forward to.

An enjoyable contrast in styles, these two whiskies did not disappoint. Yesterday's Craigellachie was clean and fruity. Today is...well......

Distillery: Craigellachie
Ownership: Bacardi
Region: Central Speyside
Independent Bottler: Douglas Laing
Label: Old Particular
Age: 20 years (Sept 1995 - Dec 2015)
Maturation: Sherry Butt
Cask #: DL10962
Bottles: 314 (cask split?)
Alcohol by Volume: 51.5%
Chillfiltered? No
Caramel Colorant? No

The nose floats up in flurry of contradictions that somehow work. Soil, honey, caramel sauce, oranges, sand and a hint of sulphur. Then witbier, black raisins, fruit leather, dark chocolate, salt and wood smoke. The palate is full of baking spices and cracked pepper. Then salty toffee. Orange peels and orange blossoms. Mildly sweet, it grows tarter with time. Less hot than the 18, despite a higher ABV. It gets sweeter in the finish, where there's dried currants, tart lemons and orange blossoms.

DILUTED TO ~46%abv, or 3/4tsp of water per 30mL whisky
The nose picks up a savory, salty meatiness. Hints of the orange blossoms and dark chocolate. A little more sulphur. Sweeter than before, the palate is full of raisins and white fruits. Smoke residue and a little bit of herbal bitterness. Its tartness expands with time. The finish matches the palate, but with more citrus and pepper.

I'd read about the meatiness of Craigellachie's spirit before, but this is the first time I found that sort of note. The sulphur level never gets too high, and actually fits right into the crowded, yet organized sniffer. It's not really a dirty whisky, but it shows no interest in the prettiness of its cousin cask. And this one swims much better.

This 20yo does remind me a little bit of that fun K&L Hepburn's Choice single cask from three years ago. I had a lot more of that one to drink, so things really aren't even, but I'd bet this Craigellachie would win out overall. It's a style that doesn't appeal to some, or many. But it works for me. And its another great bottling I'm sorry to have missed.

Availability - Probably sold out
Pricing - ~€100
Rating - 89