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Craigellachie

Craigellachie

There isn't much to say about Craigellachie (pronounced: kray-GELL-ak-ee). A pleasant malt whisky made at a pleasant distillery in a very pleasant spot in the heart of Speyside. Overshadowed on the tourist trail by its neighbour Macallan and even its namesake hotel The Craigellachie Hotel, it seems that it is one of those distilleries that has always been content to chug along quietly in modest obscurity. Although an ideal blenders malt it is also a fine example of a lighter Speyside whisky, one that would surely have a few more fans if it was better known.

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Craigellachie Distillery

Founded: 1891
Stills: 2 Wash 2 Spirit
Water Source: Little Convan hill
Capacity: 3.6 Million Litres
Owners: Bacardi

1960-1975: Expansion.

Craigellachie was expanded to a four still distillery in 1964 and partially modernised at the time, although its stills were not converted to steam until 1972, which was quite late by industry standards at the time. There are a few bottlings available from this period, most of them are excellent aged examples that display loads of delicate, lush fruity tones with hints of wax, resin and spice. A Cadenheads 1962 16yo Dumpy bottling is a spectacular example of old style Craigellachie, if you can find it. While there is also a great Murray McDavid 1970 33yo and a fantastic 1962 25yo done by Moncreiffe for Meregalli in Italy.

1975-Present: A Quiet Speysider.

Little has happened to disturb Craigellachie over the years. Since its expansion works during the sixties almost nothing of note has happened. This is somehow comforting when you think of the rose tinted romantic image of a distillery just chugging away unchanged through the generations. Things are not quite like this at Craigellachie but it does still produce a classy make that is both accessible to novice drinkers and filled with enough complexities to entertain more hardened malt fanatics.

The character of the make in recent years and at younger ages is one dominated by honey, distinctive floral aspects, a little wax, spice and candied fruit characters. There has been a slow but reliable trickle of bottlings throughout the years so examples are never too difficult to lay hands on. The official 14yo that Bacardi launched in 2004 is a fine introduction to this distillerys make and is relatively affordable by comparison to many of its contemporary counterparts. Lets hope it stays that way.

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