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Cragganmore 12

Your tastes and our tastes are discussed here, so make sure you share your pleasures with us.

Cragganmore 12

Postby Aidan » Thu Jun 16, 2005 11:31 pm

Absolutely beautiful whisky. Maybe now my favorate scotch.
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Postby bond » Fri Jun 17, 2005 6:07 am

Agree completely.

A lot of us have labelled it as the most "under-rated" malt. It is yet to get its due.
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Postby bernstein » Fri Jun 17, 2005 6:33 am

A friend of mine had one in her cupboard and shared it. What a beauty - the Cragganmore that is! I ordered a bottle immediately... :D
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Cragganmore 12

Postby Wendy » Fri Jun 17, 2005 1:13 pm

Cragganmore 12 is on my bestfriends "top five" list. I hadn't tasted it for a couple of years, but after it being mentioned in the various threads, I was inspired to purchase a bottle a couple of weeks ago. I too have been enjoying it. As she lives on the other side of my country, we often chat via msn; she was quite happy that I had decided to revisit the Cragganmore. The other night, after sharing a good laugh, we both were enjoying the Cragganmore in our respected homes and happily toasted our long standing friendship!! Memories, friendships and certain malts enrich the "spirit" of it all! I am really glad it is the Cragganmore 12 that she enjoys so much.

Wendy
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Postby Lawrence » Fri Jun 17, 2005 3:45 pm

It's true and I often give it a miss if I see it somewhere becuase it's so common....yet whenever I again try a dram I'm always pleased. Must pick up another bottle for home consumption.

And I forgot, the DE is very, very good.
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Postby Frodo » Sat Jun 18, 2005 12:45 am

The Summerhill & Youge LCBO has a Craggenmore from Signatory's unchillfiltered line. $90 for those in TO who want to try it...
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Yonge & Summerhill

Postby Wendy » Sat Jun 18, 2005 2:59 pm

Thank you Frodo for the tip...although if I head out that way I may need to be "rescued" from the Tower (Tasting Tower, that is!!)
Take care,
Wendy
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sat Jun 18, 2005 4:07 pm

I survived the Dragon's Breath in Kingston....
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Postby Paul A Jellis » Thu Jun 23, 2005 12:26 am

Craggenmore gets ten out of ten from me as well, it's one of the best Speysides around.

I too think it suffers from the fact that is so widely available, that some people think that 'it can't be very good', well it is!

Cheers

Paul
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Postby Admiral » Sat Jun 25, 2005 2:09 pm

Have you tried the Distillers Edition?

It's absolutely delicious - one of the better balanced rum finishes going around.

Cheers,
Admiral
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Postby bernstein » Sat Jun 25, 2005 2:35 pm

Hi Admiral,
are you sure there is a rum finished Cragganmore DE? The one I tasted once was port finished. If it's the same I totally agree - a stunner!
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Postby Lawrence » Sat Jun 25, 2005 5:35 pm

That made me pause also (rum finish), I believe it's a port finish that works very well, I've had quite a bit of it lately and I really enjoy it.
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Postby Admiral » Sun Jun 26, 2005 1:38 am

OOOPS!!! :D

Yes, of course it's a port finish.....I have no idea how the word rum went through my fingers into the keyboard!!!

(Might have something to do with the fact I've had no sleep lately! New babies do that to you! :wink: )
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Postby Mr Fjeld » Sun Jun 26, 2005 3:29 am

Congratulations Admiral! Are you going to buy a vintage whisky for your newly born?

Skål!
Christian
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Postby Frodo » Sun Jun 26, 2005 6:51 am

Congrats Admiral! Cheers to the proud Pappa :!: :!: :!:
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Postby Frodo » Sun Jun 26, 2005 6:59 am

I'll stick out my neck about now, and offer my less than stellar feedback on the Craggenmore DE. I think the 12yr old isn't bad. It's got a lot going on in terms of evolution of flavour last time I've tried it.

At the Spirit of Toronto, I tried the DE and came away not impressed. The dram itself was fine. But I felt that the Port finish "took over" and prevented the charactor of the whisky to come through. I guess I was looking for flavour enhancement, not what is almost a new flavour compared to the 12yr old. The 12yr old is a complex dram IMHO. The DE I tried was nice, but not complex... :(

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Postby bernstein » Sun Jun 26, 2005 11:52 am

Frodo wrote:I'll stick out my neck about now, and offer my less than stellar feedback on the Craggenmore DE.

Don't even dare to stop posting your feedbacks, Frodo - this is what this forum is all about :!: :)

Frodo wrote: But I felt that the Port finish "took over" and prevented the charactor of the whisky to come through. I guess I was looking for flavour enhancement, not what is almost a new flavour compared to the 12yr old.

Your touching a very interesting point here, Frodo. What is the 'function' of a finishing? I know, there isn't just one answer to this question. I guess it's always somewhere between those two poles:
    a. A finish leads to a completely new experience, creates a new spirit.
    b. A finish enhances the distinct flavour, modifies and plays with its basic spirit.

I'm still quite defensive concerning all kinds of finishings, because I'm still trying to get an idea of certain 'pure' distillery styles.
Of course, exceptions just prove the standard...
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Postby Admiral » Sun Jun 26, 2005 1:32 pm

Thank you Frodo and Mr Fjeld!

I guess it's a bit hard to buy a vintage malt of 2005 at this stage, but maybe 10 to 12 years from now when 2005 vintages start to be released, I'll buy her a bottle then. Her brother was born last year, so I'll have to get some 2004 as well!

Nevertheless, the occasion was duly celebrated by cracking a new bottle of Glenfarclas 21yo!

Cheers,
Admiral
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Postby hpulley » Sun Jun 26, 2005 2:03 pm

Congrats Admiral! Our 5-month old is now sitting which is great fun. The lying on the mat stage is relaxing but only interesting for about the first 3 months ;)

You could buy 2004 and 2005 bottled malts for now but unless you want to buy a (share of a) cask you can't buy distillate from those years yet (wouldn't be whisky). As you say in 10 years there will be no shortage of them.

What do you think of the 21yo Glenfarclas? At first I didn't really like it, too bitter. A third of the way into the bottle either it has mellowed a bit or I have adjusted to it and now I enjoy it. Still don't love it, but I enjoy it. My '91 13yo Rosebank I love -- bought it at the same time but have drank twice as much since!

Harry
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Postby bernstein » Sun Jun 26, 2005 2:24 pm

Admiral wrote:Her brother was born last year, so I'll have to get some 2004 as well!

...sounds like the start of a fine collection! :wink:

Congratulations from this part of our global village as well, Admiral!
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sun Jun 26, 2005 4:51 pm

Admiral wrote:(Might have something to do with the fact I've had no sleep lately! New babies do that to you! )


What do old babies do to you? :? Add my congrats to the pile, Admiral. They wouldn't be complete without some silly wordplay.


hpulley wrote:Congrats Admiral! Our 5-month old is now sitting which is great fun. The lying on the mat stage is relaxing but only interesting for about the first 3 months ;)


I concur on both counts; I find sitting to be great fun, as well, especially with a malt in front of me. And yes, three months seems to be the limit for lying on a mat. (Oh, did you mean the baby sitting and lying on the mat?)

Mr Picky congratulates you for saying "lying", not "laying".

bernstein wrote:What is the 'function' of a finishing?


A cynic might answer that it is to take some substandard whisky and make it saleable--i.e. to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. A more charitable interpretation might be that it is to take perfectly good whisky of which one has a great surplus and put a twist on it, creating a new product. Certainly there are purists who think of finishes as being a short step removed from drowning your malt with coke. I think we have been going through a period of great experimentation with finishes, and ultimately they will settle into being a very small part of the malt business, itself a small part of the whisky business. If a single malt vatting consists of 80% ex-bourbon and 20% ex-sherry, then it's hard to see the harm in making it from 100% ex-bourbon with a few months in sherry; but surely many folks will see port, madeira, rum, or Glen Googly Old Bait Barrel as quite a different thing. There will probably always be some who find the practice a fun and interesting segment of their appreciation, and others who ignore it, much as I generally ignore blends.

One cannot help but wonder, though, what moves, say, Bruichladdich to try a finish in mouvedre casks, and how the mechanics of such an experiment proceed. It would seem an enormous leap of faith to create an entire vatting this way; surely a single barrel must have been tried first, and even that is risking the loss of a potentially valuable barrel. And why mouvedre? Did Mr Reynier wake up in the middle of the night with an inspiration? Or did someone call him up one afternoon and say "Hey, I got a whole s***load o' mouvedre barrels lyin' around--ya want 'em?" Some form of the latter scenario seems more likely to me.
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Postby Admiral » Mon Jun 27, 2005 12:35 am

What do you think of the 21yo Glenfarclas?


I absolutely love it! It's so beautifully rich and syruppy. The perfect after dinner dram! The sherry balance is just right, there's plenty of oak (as you'd expect from a malt of this age), but it's never overpowering. Some good sweetness, balanced with chewy tannins. Yum!

What strikes me is how consistent the Glenfarclas OB's are. I've currently got open bottles of the 10, the 12, the 15, and the 21; I've also previously had bottles of the 105, the 1974 (or was it '76? Can't remember off the top of my head), and the 30yo.

They're all stellar drams, with few flaws to pick at. These guys know how to make whisky, and - unlike many of their competitors - their quality and consistency has remained top notch for many, many years.

I've also had a few IB's, (several SMWS's and two private bottlings for my club - an 11yo and a 30yo - and they too are nothing short of fantastic.

My compliments to the team at Glenfarclas!

Cheers,
Admiral
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Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Jun 27, 2005 7:29 pm

A further musing on finishes and wine barrels. Scotch whisky has always been matured in whatever wood has been available. In the 19th century, that meant sherry butts, as sherry was very popular in Britain and was imported in bulk. Getting sherry butts now is quite difficult, and those who want them must sometimes go to great lengths to get them, even going so far as to commission them from bodegas who season them as much to sell the barrel as to mature sherry, perhaps more. As in peating of malt, the modern practice is but a replication of what was traditionally done by necessity.

Today bourbon barrels are prevalent, and as far as I know there is no particular shortage. According to Jefford in Peat Smoke & Spirit, the majority of fresh bourbon barrels are used first for aging grain spirit that forms the vast bulk of blends, after which they are passed on to the distilleries. (Of course, we all know of examples of malts matured in first fill barrels, but still, the majority go to the grain.)

As I say, I know of no shortage of bourbon barrels; but a small independent distillery like Bruichladdich does not get the benefit of these hand-me-downs, and sourcing relatively fresh barrels may be a significant problem for them. Mr Reynier certainly has contacts in the wine business, and for all I know imports a considerable amount of French wine to the UK in bulk (a mere speculation on my part). It would only be natural that Murray McDavid in general and Bruichladdich in particular would want to find a way to make use of that resource.

What that means for the future is anybody's guess. Might those mouvedre casks see further life as second-fill maturation vessels? What would a malt taste like, that had been in one of those for ten years? Could it make an acceptable segment of a standard vatting? Might heavily "wined" whiskies be as acceptable in years to come as heavily sherried ones are now?

It's human nature to feel that the way things are now is the way they have always been and always will be. But change is inevitable and ongoing, nowhere moreso than in the whisky world. If anything is certain, it's that things will be as different fifty years from now as they were fifty years ago, and wood regime is a particularly vulnerable and mutable part of the business.
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Postby Mr Fjeld » Mon Jun 27, 2005 10:11 pm

I know I'm getting too soft and nice these days but I have to say your post was a very good one Mr Tattieheid.

Your point and assumption (see I made an ass out of you and me) on the barrels is correct. Not only sherry, but all wine was imported in barrels. It's likely to assume (again) that other barrels than just sherry barrels would have been used for whisky because of the sheer availability! Bottled wine is a relatively modern phenomenon after Baron de Rotschild (last century - and owner of the top premier cru classè chateau's; Lafite, Mouton) took control over the sale himself instead of selling to independant wine merchants who previously stored and bottled the wine back in London (usually stored in warehouses close to the river Thames).

It's therefore likely that a variety of wine barrels were used before bourbon barrels entered the market. I don't know when but I assume (there we go again) it must have been in the time of the clippers as modern steampowered ships probably brought the cost of shipping bourbon barrels down to a minimum. Just my two cents!

Skål!
Christian
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Postby Deactivated Member » Tue Jun 28, 2005 3:27 am

I haven't heard of a lot of wine barrels being used historically (or indeed, any). Probably in the old days sherry was deemed best, and there was no shortage of butts. I wonder more about historical usage of virgin wood. Not that there's a lot of that in Scotland, either!
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Postby Aidan » Tue Jun 28, 2005 7:17 am

I wonder is there a big difference between a whisky matured in bourbon barrels and finished in port pipes, say, and a mixture of malts matures fully in bourbon barrels and fully in port pipes? Say in the first example 5% of the maturation period is spent in the pipes and in the second example 5% of the malt is matured in port pipes.

I'm sure there's a big difference, but it would be interesting to see.

Also, I think I mentioned this before, but it would be interesting to taste whisky matured in other woods, such as mapel. Maybe this would taste awful, but it would be interesting. Of course, you probably couldn't call it whisky...
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Postby Deactivated Member » Tue Jun 28, 2005 4:55 pm

I don't think the Scotch Reinheitsgebot (if I may call it that) specifies oak, does it? (Even if they did, you could still call it whisky, I think; just not Scotch whisky.) The bourbon laws do. Jackson says that oak's pliability, necessary for making barrels, is a major reason for its use. I do seem to recall hearing of some isolated experimentation with other wood here or there.
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Postby bernstein » Tue Jun 28, 2005 10:40 pm

Bruce and Christian wrote:Reinheitsgebot, Feinschmecker, Raus, raus, raus!

Hey, first time I even get a glimpse of what you guys are talking about. Carry on!
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Postby Frodo » Thu Jun 30, 2005 3:36 am

bernstein wrote:Your touching a very interesting point here, Frodo. What is the 'function' of a finishing? I know, there isn't just one answer to this question. I guess it's always somewhere between those two poles:
    a. A finish leads to a completely new experience, creates a new spirit.
    b. A finish enhances the distinct flavour, modifies and plays with its basic spirit.
I'm still quite defensive concerning all kinds of finishings, because I'm still trying to get an idea of certain 'pure' distillery styles.
Of course, exceptions just prove the standard...


My idea of a good finish is what the Balvenie range puts out. I feel it enhances the whisky as opposed to taking over in terms of taste. I had a Dun Bheagan Caol Isla rum finish that I had the same reaction to.

On the other end of the spectrum was something called Pike Creek which was a Cdn whisky finished in port pipes. Cdn whisky isn't the strongest stuff around, and needless to say the whisky flavour was completely drowned out. I didn't mind it myself, not liking most Cdn whiskies...

Frodo
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Postby patrick dicaprio » Sat Jul 09, 2005 1:36 pm

i had a thread a while back about how i felt it was overrated. i felt it was only average or slightly above. so again i am a minority of one. I have re-tried it since then and I still dont get the allure. good? yes. Great? i dont see it. maybe my tastes arent mature enough yet.

Pat
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Postby Admiral » Sun Jul 10, 2005 2:23 pm

maybe my tastes arent mature enough yet.


Not necessarily. Some whiskies grab you, some don't.

(I once handed a bloke a dram of Lagavulin and said, "Many people in the world consider this to be one of the best whiskies. It's from Islay." He looked disappointed and said, "I don't like Islay whiskies!". Moral of the story - just because lots of people say a whisky is good, that doesn't mean you have to like it!)

Besides, you may have a bottle from a poorer quality batch or something, in which case your tastebuds are telling you precisely the right thing! :)

Cheers,
Admiral
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sun Jul 10, 2005 3:58 pm

Admiral wrote:I once handed a bloke a dram of Lagavulin and said, "Many people in the world consider this to be one of the best whiskies. It's from Islay." He looked disappointed and said, "I don't like Islay whiskies!"


Hope you followed with a Bunnie or a 'Laddie!
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Postby patrick dicaprio » Sun Jul 10, 2005 7:35 pm

Admiral wrote:
maybe my tastes arent mature enough yet.


Not necessarily. Some whiskies grab you, some don't.

(I once handed a bloke a dram of Lagavulin and said, "Many people in the world consider this to be one of the best whiskies. It's from Islay." He looked disappointed and said, "I don't like Islay whiskies!". Moral of the story - just because lots of people say a whisky is good, that doesn't mean you have to like it!)

Besides, you may have a bottle from a poorer quality batch or something, in which case your tastebuds are telling you precisely the right thing! :)

Cheers,
Admiral


it was more a rhetorical comment but thanks anyway! i do think it is a good whisky though and i will try it again just in case i did get a bad batch.

Pat
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