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A Cragganmore of this age has never been released from the distillery, making this elusive malt a much-anticipated expression. In addition, sweet and mellow woody notes emerge from this small-batch, patiently matured over 20 years in a mix that included new fresh-charred American oak casks. Cragganmore is a highly respected Speyside malt founded by a giant among distillers, John Smith. The ethereal aromas are among the most complex to be found in any malt, appearing and disappearing mysteriously like the ghostly flight of the Barn Owl as it quarters the wooded Speyside glens at twilight in search of its prey. Showing the sweet and spicy effects of part maturation in new oak, this expression explores the woods just as deeply. The mellow nose is sweet overall, revealing fruity top notes of ripe pear, soft melon and green banana, then more savoury hints of soft glove leather and sanded hardwood. The texture is creamy-smooth while the taste is rich and not quite as sweet, delightfully balanced by a savoury mid-palate. The finish is long, velvety and spicy-dry.
A lively example of Cragganmore at natural strength, with considerable complexity, which benefits from a little water.