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Friday, March 25, 2022

Cragganmore 27 year old 1989 Archives, cask 1465

Monday's Cragganmore was not good. Wednesday's Cragganmore was a drinker. How will today's Cragganmore fare? It's from the 1989 vintage just like Wednesday's official bottling, though this one is older and from a sherry hogshead. Its hue is very dark, so one can anticipate the whisky will taste different than this week's other two Craggs.

Distillery: Cragganmore
Owner: Diageo
Region: Speyside (Moray)
Bottler: Archives
Age: 27 years (May 1989 - November 2016)
Maturation: sherry hogshead
Outturn: 70 bottles (a split cask?)
Alcohol by Volume: 48.7%
Chillfiltered? No
e150a? No
(from a bottle split)


The layered nose shows toffee chips, baked apple and marzipan on top of soil and stones. Smaller notes of mango and golden raisins settle in the background. Diluting it to 43%abv cranks up the sherry cask. Cherry syrup, golden raisins and beef up front, with stones and toffee in the middle. Baked apple and florals in the back.

This one has more of an industrial note than the other Craggs' palates, though it also offers Manuka honey, guava and a little bit of orange. But with time it turns into sugary oak reduction, much like an old bourbon. The tannins remain at 43%abv, but the sweetness gets gentler, lychee and grapefruit show up, as does a spicy zing. So the palate does the reverse of the nose.

It finishes like a 15+ year old bourbon. Mouth drying, lots of old wood. Some ash and a hint of orange. Once the whisky is reduced to 43%abv, the finish nearly matches the palate, with a little more fruit.


It's a bourbon drinker's scotch. That's what my brain kept saying as I sipped this neatly. As with the official '89, dilution mellows the palate's oak and adds fruit, both plusses in my book. In fact, there's a 6 to 8 point swing once water is added because I really couldn't get into its Orphan-Barrel-meets-pseudo-Stagg style. Like long-aged bourbons, this Cragganmore's nose was very nice at all strengths but, again, whisk(e)y is for drinking.

Availability - Long gone
Pricing - around €200 five years ago
Rating - 85 (with water only, high 70s when neat)