Cragganmore 20 YO – Special Release 2020

ABV: 55.8 %
Origin: Speyside
Type: Single Malt
Bottles in collection: 0
Emptied bottles: 0
Impression: 2/5

Tasting notes
Nose: This is sweet and oaky. At first there’s a sweet honey and toasted vanilla oakiness building up in the center. It’s very mild and easy on the nose although there are hints of nail polish remover and a smell of vinegar as well. The sweetness becomes a mix of caramel and toasted oak in the same pace as a slight fruit note arrives. It’s a sweet white wine fruitiness with overripe green grapes. After a while the age shines through with a dusty and old note in the back. This is not the greatest of noses and the oakiness feels like an afterthought to salvage the otherwise not so great first maturation.

Mouth: It starts out with a second or two of sweet baked fruits before it becomes very hot and starts to attack the palate. Underneath lies a sour white wine fruitiness as well as the vinegar note. It’s sweet and very dusty in the background and even though it’s extremely hot the age is still showing through. The sweet toasted oak is still in there and gives a much needed sweetness to the other very demanding sensations. It’s impossible to keep exploring at this point due to the hotness.

Finish: It keeps on being extremely hot during the tranisition but it doesn’t spike any further. All the other flavours stay and patiently wait for the hotness to subside. When it does the fruits and the sweetness already lost its edge and it leaves a slightly astingent oakiness to itself. It creates a bitterness around the edges as well as a sawdust freshness. There is a sour note left in the back though. This is not a great whisky and it feels like an attempt to rescue a poorly made distillate. It’s too hot and too oaky, to the point of it being almost unbearable to drink.

Additional information
This whisky was distilled in 1999 and aged in a mix of refill ex-bourbon barrels and new fresh-charred oak casks.

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