...where distraction is the main attraction.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Mathilda Malt: Craigduff 33 year old 1973 Signatory, cask 2515

Time for another 1973, just because!

Glen Keith was Seagram's laboratory of fun during much of the distillery's early existence, producing various malt styles for the company's blends. Somehow Andrew Symington of Signatory was able to get his mitts on casks of the Glenisla and Craigduff styles. Per Symington, the Craigduff spirit was made from lightly peated barley and had "concentrated peated water" added to its wash charges. I tried and enjoyed one Glenisla two years ago, and look forward to this Craigduff curio.

Distillery: Glen Keith
Type: Craigduff
Ownership: Pernod Ricard (previously, Seagram's)
Independent Bottler: Signatory
Region: Speyside (Moray)
Age: 33 years (4 April 1973 - 16 August 2006)
Maturation: refill sherry butt
Cask#: 2515
Outturn: 371 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 47.5%
Chillfiltered? No
e150a? No
(from a bottle split)


The nose? Dunnage and mango. Do we really need any other notes? Okay, if you insist. There's also pipe tobacco and a chocolatey smoke that sits somewhere between Nesquik and Godiva milk chocolate. Honey and lemon glide around the edges. After an hour it shifts to dark chocolate, mint and strawberry Nesquik. Dunnage leads in the palate, followed by a bold bitterness mixing with limes and grapefruit. Then gravel and raw walnuts. Hints of soil, brine and palo santo smoke. It finishes with the grapefruit, raw walnuts, salt, and savory.

DILUTED to ~43%abv, or >½ tsp of water per 30mL whisky

I'm going easy with the water here due to the whisky's advanced age and low abv. Thankfully, the water doesn't ruin things. York peppermint patties, pipe tobacco and chalk dust arrive first in the nose, followed by guava and lemon bars, with a little bit of smoked salmon in the background. The palate reads tangy, bitter, and sweet in even measures, with raw nuts and strawberry candy featuring. The finish matches the palate all the way down to the strawberry candy.


In my favorite 2022 tasting to date, I tried this alongside the '73 Ledaig. Pure sensory pleasure, these whiskies are from a different era, perhaps several whisky generations ago. It's a tragedy that 99.99% of Craigduff was lost to blends like 100 Pipers (barf, in particular), but again I'm very thankful that Signatory rescued some casks. It would be interesting to see a contemporary distillery (Glen Keith, perhaps?) try this out. Different still shapes, fermentation times, and spirit cuts would result in additional variants. How about it, Loch Lomond?

Availability - Secondary market
Pricing - I cannot bear to look
Rating - 90