Cragganmore 12 Year Old Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
*Best Buy* The succulent aroma develops with aeration in the sweet forms of barley, cream, light caramel, and a trace of tropical fruit. Palate entry is round, borderline plump, breakfast-cereal sweet, and honeyed; at midpalate, there's a slightly oily peat smoke. Sweetly concludes with the focus on the malt.
This oft-overlooked Speysider has been frustratingly variable in the past, but now seems to have hit greater consistency. Worm tubs and weird stills combine to give a complex malt, but one that needs help from oak to blossom fully. There are hedgerow aromas: black currant leaf, hawthorn berries, and lots of honey. A chestnut note continues on the tongue where, on the finish, a hint of smoke lurks. (DB, Summer 2012)
A revered blending malt that proves itself surprisingly rich and complex given its light color. Opens up hugely candied, then adds notes of fig and dried fruit. A rooty spiciness provides a twist on the finish.
Heathery, spicy, and wrapped in sweet caramel at the same time, the Cragganmore 12 offers the sweet, pear character of a Glenlivet 12, but with a racy hint of a Kilchoman. The presence of Scotland's fastest flowing river, together with peat from the uplands to the south, was the reason original Cragganmore owner "Big" John Smith felt that it would be the perfect place for the perfect distillery. And who could argue with his genius? Successive managers of Cragganmore have strived to continue his vision to deliver the sweetest, most complex malt whiskies: fruity, honeyed notes are often found. And many a taster of has talked lyrically of its fruitcake and toffee flavors: "One of Speyside's greats. Elegant and austere. Gradually, almost reluctantly, reveals itself. The most fragrant of whiskies: delicate, herbal, flowery. A palate blossoming with flavours, and a long, lingering, finish." (Michael Jackson, whisky writer and expert)