“The Owls are not what they seem to be” — Twin peaks
Last year’s 12-year-old peaty Cragganmore was a hit, and I loved that one dearly.. The art on the Cragg bottles is also very very cool with the owls, and this year’s release is just as beautiful, with much older liquid inside (20 year old) and a ‘regular’ non-peated profile. If you’re trying to remember if you ever had a 20-year-old OB Cragganmore, I will save you the time – and answer it with A No, as this is the first-ever 20-year-old OB Cragganmore is released. as for wood, we’re talking of a maturation in a combination of refill and new, freshly charred hogsheads – so quite wood-driven if to guess by the dry data. Let’s try some.
We’ll start our yearly look at Diageo’s Special Releases with this Cragganmore 20 Year Old, an age never released from this distillery. This 1999 vintage is matured in a combination of refill and new, freshly charred hogsheads.
Cragganmore 20 yo 1999 ,55,8% ,£130
Nose: A rather underwhelming nose at first, but give it some time and it will bloom… Starting sweet with some fruit – mostly pears and maybe unripe banana, vanilla and a hint of wax, vanilla custard, and Creme Catalan, there’s a mossy/old touch to it as well, and a citrus edge not very lemony more of a ripe orange, maybe a Nectarine, and then a nice amount of oak.
Palate: Much creamier and vanilla-centric than the nose, a nice start, then moving on to polished oak, some grapefruit pith, lemon rind, wee smoke and honey, then spicy ginger and mint, alongside chocolate and licorice.
Finish : hints of smoke, wood char, some more wax, and distant dried fruit.
Conclusion: Very good stuff indeed, a lovely combo of wood, wax, smoke, spices, and vanilla creaminess. well-aged, the wood is well balanced but still building a nice scaffolding on which to build the flavor profile. Good work there! Highly recommended.
Still available for £130 from MOM.