Craigellachie 2002 Review

“It’s Coopers Choice….But Not Mine”

Country: Scotland 
Region: Speyside
Brand: Craigellachie 2002 (Coopers Choice) 
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 8-9 Years
ABV: 46 %

Colour: Deep Gold with a touch of Orange.

Nose: Sherry at first, followed by Malt, Apricot, Nuts, Buttered Toast and Orange Marmalade, Espresso Coffee, Brown Sugar, Toffee, Syrup, Heather, Straw and Oak. But then it becomes more Herbal and Grassy with a slightly Sour Off-Note reminding me of decomposed organic matter. The ABV of 46% is correct but unfortunately the Alcohol is not fully integrated. I'm not convinced by this Nose. It is similar to - and not that much better than your average Blended Scotch.

Palate: Slightly Sour and Bitter-Sweet with Buttered Toast, Malt, Sherry, Oak, Toffee, Syrup, Archive Boxes, Orange, Wax and light Pepper.

Finish: Middle-Long and Bitter-Sweet with Orange Marmalade, Malt, Caramel, Oak, light Pepper, Sour Cherries and a hint of Licorice.

I added a bit of Water and the Nose becomes quite Grainy and a bit Musty. The Palate and Finish do not benefit from the added H2O as well.

Rating: 80

Nose: 20.5 - Taste: 20 - Finish: 19.5 - Overall: 20 

General Remarks: The Craigellachie Distillery was built in 1891 and is located between Craigellachie and Aberlour in Banffshire. Since 1998 it's owned by John Dewar & Sons, part of Bacardi. The 14 Years is the only Distillery bottling. Most of the production disappears in the Dewar's Blends. During our trip to Scotland in May we passed the Distillery. Unfortunately it's not open to the public. We took a picture (in the rain) but I can't find it at the moment. Will add it later to this Post.

The Single Malt we are tasting today was distilled in 2002 and bottled in 2011. It was matured by - and bottled for The Vintage Malt Whisky Co. Ltd under their brand name Coopers Choice. This Independent Bottler was founded in 1992 by Brian Cook, a guy with over 20 years of experience in the Malt Whisky Industry. It matured in an Ex-Sherry Butt (Cask # 90008) and costs around 50 US Dollars. I assume that this whisky is naturally coloured and not chill-filtered.

Drinking Experience Neat: Disappointing.

Conclusion: Dewar's White Label is one of my less favourite Blends and that's an understatement. I truly hope that it did not affect my objectiveness when Nosing and Tasting this Craigellachie. Because I did not find this Single Malt to be very attractive. The Nose starts with Sherry but quite soon there was this Compost like Off Note that I didn't care for. And on the Palate and in the Finish some Bitter-Sweet and Sour Flavour components did spoil some of the fun as well. I wouldn't buy a full bottle of this Craigellachie nor recommend that to my friends.

Jan van den Ende                                                        September 9, 2014


Florin said...

Why do they keep doing this to Craigellachie? I had a bottle of 9yo from AD Rattray, cask strength no less, that also gave out these notes of fermented cabbage or Brussels sprouts. (One of the worst whiskies in memory.) Like yours, it was probably bottled too early. Just leave it in the cask for a few more years and give the poor guy a chance!

Jan van den Ende said...

Thanks for your comment Florin! I quite agree with you. Didn't like these off notes either. Will try and get a sample of an older expression somewhere!