Craigellachie has always been a radiant and unique whisky for me with its muscular qualities. After Aberfeldy, it was not the time for Craigellachie to release a well aged single cask. Craigellachie Exceptional Cask Series Cask No 5229 is a 24 year old single malt whisky from the distillery and it was aged in Sherry butt number 5229.
On October 25th, 1995, not only the singer Cliff Richard received his knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II and became the 1st rock star to be knighted, but also this whisky was distilled. That was the birth of this bottle. At the last step of distillation, the spirit passed through Craigellachie's famous worm tub condensers, creating a unique and robust profile.
How Does This Taste?
I tasted it a few times, just to get it right. Firstly, thanks to Mr. Orpheus from San Francisco Whiskey Bourbon and Scotch Society for generously decapping this bottle with us.
The nose offers a lot! Starts with raisins, white chocolate, cinnamon, black tea with bergamot, grilled pineapple, manuka honey. Much more happened after adding some water. Melon, mango, vanilla custard and apricots appeared. Very, very lovely nose.
Sometimes whisky reminds you of some colors. I actually organized a masterclass in 2019 telling more about this. This whisky brings dark brown color to my mind. The palate has browned butter, caramelized sugar, red apples, cinnamon, deep notes of prune, almond and coffee beans.
The finish was the only downside of this whisky for me. I was honestly expecting a longer and complex finish with the proof. The finish is short to medium, but the notes of brown sugar glazed tropical fruits with cedar notes give an elegant feeling at the end.
This is a great Craigellachie with amplified elegant notes having the robust house character in the core. The length of the finish was my only complaint in all of my tastings that I did on different days and times. Personally, if I am paying $300+ for a whisky, I expect a freaking rich and at least medium to long finish. Though it happens and our expectations can be different.
Also, I couldn't find any details about the cask it was in, but I believe that it is not a 1st-fill cask. Which is quite lovely, since I was scared of not getting any spirit quality after being aged for 24 years in Sherry butt.
I can easily say that, on the nose and the palate, Craigellachie Exceptional Cask Series Cask No 5229 is a top-notch one.