SMWS 15yo Craigellachie ‘Roasted Salsify and Lemon Tahini’ 61.8% ABV

SMWS 15yo Craigellachie 'Roasted Salsify and Lemon

Distilled 23/10/2006 in an original bourbon hogshead and finished in a PX hogshead, limited to 264 bottles.


Appearance: Sunset amber, crisp and clean looking (30ish). A beaded swirl mark quickly forms, asking with some super-thick trails and a wonderfully viscous film. Many droplets form from the tidemark after a while.

Nose: I can smell the toffee-coated berries, Christmas spices and honey from across the room. The ABV is carried well, it’s clearly a big bold nose with a high ABV, but it’s not overwhelming.

There’s a damp leaf litter note running in parallel with the more noticeable sweeter aromas, adding a pleasing balance and additional layer of interest.

Raspberry ripple vanilla ice cream and orchard fruits (pear and plum) mellow the nose after some time.

With water the nose becomes even more toffee-forward, begging on caramel now. It becomes fresher and an almost menthol element appears.

Palate: A fairly oily mouthfeel. Big white pepper and aniseed spice hit and cheese warming but with a definite sweet vein running through.

The second sip reveals a confectionary sweetness, those orchard fruits, but more fermented now, vanilla and those Christmas spices. A slight cloying but not amounting to anything.

Green apples appear next, possibly an evolution of those orchard fruits, together with an ever-growing chilli tingle.

This is one of those rare whiskies that I’ve felt compelled to add a drop of water to. The result is butter mint, Werther’s Originals and a white wine side to the dram.

Finish: That chilli tingle, green apple and spice last for a decent length of time. Slightly drying and definitely warming.

Overall: A great autumn dram this one. Definitely high ABV and unapologetic too. Probably a challenge for anyone new to cask-strength whisky, but with some water it keeps well and offers some very pleasant and explorable layers.

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