Cragganmore Distillery was founded in 1869 by John Smith. John was an experienced distiller and had already been a manager at some of the big name distilleries like Macallan, Glenlivet and Glenfarclas. They chose the site where the distillery sits for its proximity to its water source, The Craggan burn and the Strathspey railway. The Cragganmore spirit stills are unique as they are not like your typical long, tall, slender stills they are short and have a flat top. This is meant to give the Cragganmore whiskies its unique flavor. Diageo is the current owner. The distillery has six washbacks made from origin pine, two wash stills, two spirit stills and they produce 1,600,000 litres a year. House Style: Austere, stonily dry, aromatic. After dinner.
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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