Craigellachie 13 Year Single Malt Scotch
For years, the Craigellachie Distillery was used almost exclusively for churning out whisky to be used in blends, most notably Dewars (who owns the distillery), which relies heavily on Craigellachie distillate to lend depth and personality to it's standard lineup. Fortunately for fans of characterful and unique whisky, in 2014 they began to bottle their own whisky under their own name as a single malt, remaining since that time one of the best value bottles on the market. Defying easy characterization, its a Speyside malt defined not by it's gentle sweetness or sherry bomb palate explosion, but by meatiness, balance of sweet and sour, and savory complexity. Unpeated and aged primarily in ex-bourbon casks (with some sherry), its also bottled at a lovely 46% abv, non-chill filtered, and without added color.
On the nose there is fresh citrus, key lime pie, butterscotch, and vanilla cream, along with some farmyard elements, bringing Springbank to mind: hay, some floral notes, a big beautiful ham, and wisps of salty sea air and bonfire smoke. The palate is big and complex, with a honeyed sweetness, lemon custard, roasted malt, banana, apple, and a hint of smoke which takes you by surprise, being an unpeated whisky. The balance of sweet and sour is constant, and never goes too far in one direction, keeping you on your toes. Coffee and milk chocolate join the party as well, alongside some sherry and that wonderful savory meatiness. The finish lingers on the fruity side, with a smack of salt to make you come back for more. A modern classic.