...where distraction is the main attraction.

Friday, May 27, 2022

Things I Really Drink: Croftengea 10 year old 2006 Exclusive Malts, cask 485

(Loch Lomond cluster homepage)

Just a reminder, I do indeed try to purchase whiskies I've reviewed. Well, I did. International shipping has become impractical or nonexistent, and prices are......a spectator sport.

But here's a whisky I tried more than three years ago and, after enjoying its filthy style, I bought a bottle, a bottle that was opened this month in honor of the Loch Lomond cluster. The baby of this week's Croftengea trio, this TIRD whisky did indeed make it into the double-digit age range, spending a decade in a generous hogshead (judging by the outturn).

This review is of the fourth and fifth pours, still in the upper third of the bottle.

Distillery: Loch Lomond
Style: Croftengea
Owner: Loch Lomond Distillery Company (Hillhouse Capital Group)
Region: Highlands (Western)
Bottler: Creative Whisky Company
Range: Exclusive Malts
Age: 10 years (22 March 2006 to April 2016)
Maturation: a happy hogshead?
Cask #485
Outturn: 302
Alcohol by Volume: 56.7%
(from my bottle)


Firstly, the color is much lighter than the filtered photo shows. I'll call it light gold. Cold kiln, rotting seaweed and broiled eel hit the nose first. Mmmmm. Then pear, orange peel, cassia and winter wood stoves. Savory + Sweet + Soot perform in unison in the palate, with lots of lime juice around the edges. Then pear juice mixed with chipotle Tabasco sauce. It gets meatier and mintier with time. It finishes with pear, lime, mint candy and lots of salt.

DILUTED to ~46%abv, or 1⅓ tsp water per 30mL whisky

The nose begins similarly. Then the fruit notes drift towards floral notes. More cinnamon, a hint of wood glue. Things get slightly flintier. The palate gets simpler, sweeter, though there's still plenty of charred meat and peppery smoke. It finishes sweet and tangy, with mild kiln notes.


My notes differ quite a bit from those I typed 3+ years ago. The whisky reads less odd now, or maybe I am odder. That's not impossible. But from the first moment of the first pour it's clear that a great-but-not-amazing Croftengea is a legitimate alternative to the more popular Islay peat monsters, and preferable to some of them. I'm going to repeat myself here, but......if the official Loch Lomond 12yo (46%abv) can sell for $30-$35, how about a Croftengea 12yo? It could even have a 50% premium, pointing to a $45-$55 tag, and I'd buy two bottles, in lieu of Ardbeg 10 and Laphroaig 10.

Sorry, I've strayed from the review. For my face, this whisky works better at full power. The palate isn't particularly complex but it's very well balanced and would drink much better in November than May. This is young, hardy stuff with plenty of spirit, but it's neither raw nor par-baked. And the price was right, back in the day.

Availability - Sold out
Pricing - it was less than $80 with shipping included
Rating - 86

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