Origin: Speyside (Scotland)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Ageing casks: Ex-Bourbon Second Fill
Added coloring: Yes
Average price: € 119.00
Official website: www.malts.com
On 16 October 2019, awaited by many with some fervour, Diageo presented the Special Release ‘Rare by Nature’ in the exclusive setting of Somerset House in London.
Eight cask strengths from the British giant, from as many distilleries in their extensive portfolio, personally chosen by Master Blender Craig Wilson:
Cardhu 14yo: a small batch matured for two years in former Sherry Amontillado casks;
Dalwhinnie 30yo: matured in European refill casks;
Lagavulin 12yo: a small batch matured in American refill casks;
Mortlach 26yo: again a small batch aged in former Pedro Ximénez/Oloroso Sherry casks refill;
Pittyvaich 29yo: double matured in ex Pedro Ximénez and Oloroso Sherry casks;
Talisker 15yo: the first 15yo for the label, aged in charred American casks;
The Singleton of Glen Ord 18yo: an unreleased edition, matured in charred American hogshead casks.
And finally this Cragganmore 12yo, matured in American refill casks, which presents a classic speysider (which I love) in an unusually peated version.
I’ve had this sample waiting for a long time, accompanied by the (alas empty) bottle box which I recovered for its undoubted beauty: it must be said that for this line Diageo’s graphic designers have really done a great job.
I tried it ‘on the fly’ at the last MWF, but now it’s time to enjoy it calmly…
When artificial, I decided not to mention the colour of the whisky any more, but the straw yellow in the glass is really lovely.
It’s indeed alienating to be greeted on the nose by a very fleshy and “chewy” peat, as if you were approaching a Ledaig, but that’s just the initial impression: a delicate spiciness accompanies soft custard, cinnamon, green apple, an impression of seaweed and a touch of citrus. Wood. Rough and at the same time caressing, very intriguing. The significant alcohol content doesn’t make itself felt at all.
On the palate, on the other hand, you can feel it, but it’s not the punch you might imagine: an effluvia that is indeed impetuous but warm and enveloping. The peat is always present, with the mineral note much more accentuated, in this rich spiced cake with a mixture of vanilla, ginger, cinnamon, wood chips and lemon zest, cooked with charcoal.
The aromas accompany it for a long time (along with the alcoholic bang), with wood soaked in seawater, vegetable peat, charcoal, vanilla and cinnamon.
Take the elegant composure of the classic Cragganmore and put it on Vin Diesel, who comes out to embrace you affectionately: that’s the effect this dram had on me.
Rough, impetuous, yet able to be welcoming and soft, in a precarious balance that seems to work by a miracle.
But it works, damn it!