...where distraction is the main attraction.

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Cragganmore 21 year old 1989, Special Release 2010

Wow, Cragganmore 12 was disappointing. I hope I can reuse the bottle or something. Anyhoo, this blog needs more reviews of older Cragganmore, so I will be reviewing one 1989 today, and another 1989 on Friday. Today's '89 was from Diageo's 2010 Special Releases, a set that included my favorite Glen Spey and a very good Auchroisk. I hope the Cragg's quality can match theirs!

Distillery: Cragganmore
Region: Speyside (Moray)
Owner: Diageo
Range: Special Releases
Age: 21 years (1989-2010)
Maturation: Refill American Oak!!!
Outturn: 5856 bottles (identical to that of the Auchroisk)
Alcohol by Volume: 56.0%
Chillfiltered? No
e150a? Possibly not
(from a bottle split)


The nose offers a mix of spirit and cask. Hay, ocean water and old bowling shoes. Vanilla pods, caramel chews and toasted coconut-coated marshmallows. It shifts significantly once the whisky gets reduced to 43%abv, turning into lemon bars (but with yuzu), pound cake, blueberry jam and a subtle grassiness.

The palate leads with tart oranges, coal smoke, malt and a hint of soil. It takes on more tannins with time. The oak hushes up once the whisky is dropped to 43%abv. It's super tart, lots of limes, lemons and blackberries, with hints of florals and bitterness in the background.

The citrus turns sweeter in the finish, with bits of earth and tannin throughout. At 43%abv, the citrus becomes more complex, balancing sweet, tart and bitter.


Hear ye, hear ye, I like this better with water! It's a bit woody when neat, reading more like first-fill than refill casks. The nose transforms at 43%abv, and the palate's citrus improves. It ain't dreamy, mostly a casual drinker, yet such an improvement over the standard 12 year old. A standard 18yo or 21yo Cragganmore at 43%/46% would be very interesting were it offered at the right price. 

Availability - May still be available after all this time
Pricing - anywhere from $200 to $350
Rating - 86 (hydrate it!)

No comments:

Post a Comment