Current Owner: Diageo.
Production Capacity: 1,600,000 litres.
House style: Complex, fruity, floral with a dry smokiness.
Situated at Ballindalloch on the road from Aberlour to Grantown, Cragganmore Distillery is said to have been the first distillery to be built to take advantage of the Strathspey railway line. Indeed, John Smith the distillery founder was a great railway enthusiast. The water used in the making of the whisky comes from the Craggan burn and is relatively hard. Cragganmore was chosen by UDV to be its classic Speyside (one of the six 'Classic Malts') in 1988 which has helped to make Cragganmore a well recognised malt whisky.
Appearance: Bright pale amber. Good beading.
Nose: A mellow nose, with soft, malty fruit loaf and dry marzipan, or almond oil. Plenty of fruit too, with a faint but appetizing fruity acidity against a flinty backdrop; fresh grape, apple and pear or tinned peach, banana and maraschino cherry. After a while there’s a lighter, earthy, more herbal note (dried basil?). Water softens and cleans things, raising the fragrant scents, now accompanied by saddle soap. This develops towards waxy fruit; as in a cherry sponge cake, or juicy fruit gum.
Body: Rich at cask strength, softer with water.
Palate: Smooth and sweet, but with light acidity lending freshness, so from the off its slightly mouth-drying and cooler than you might expect. Charred, with licorice root and cinnamon in mulled wine. Overall, clean and clearly structured, with a slight mineral tang. Softer with water: now waxy notes and a vanilla egg custard-sweetness are offset by clove and hints of wood.
Finish: Medium length and warming, with some gingery spiciness. Smoother with water and drying, herbal, almost bitter, until marzipan returns in the aftertaste.
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