GreatDrams Single Cask Series: Craigellachie & Invergordon

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If you read this pokey wee whisky blog then there’s every chance you’ll also read Greg Dillon’s hugely comprehensive GreatDrams website. Greg and I first met electronically when he commented on an article I posted nearly six years ago, when I toured Glenfiddich as part of a stag do; he was on the lookout for recommendations for distillery tours as part of his forthcoming stag. Fast forward those not-quite-but-almost six years, and Greg and I have attended many events, press trips, product launches, Twitter Tastings and dinners together (I’m making it sound more romantic than it actually is) and I now consider him a very good friend, both in and out of the whisky industry.

He’s taken GreatDrams a step further and along with his wife, Kirsty, he’s recently bottled two single cask whiskies; an 11yo single cask Invergordon and an 11yo single cask Craigellachie, which has been finished for six months in an oloroso sherry cask. Speaking of the releases, Greg said: “This marks a new, exciting chapter for GreatDrams as we continue to build the business and its place in the whisky industry. I’m excited that we are able to embark on this latest venture, and look forward to bottling some frankly wonderful whiskies in the months and years to come.”

First off, a word on the packaging. I really love it. Sleek, informative, and classy. Not overly fussy, not overly complicated, and not trying to incorporate some contrived marketing story. Thumbs up there. A second word on the price. The Invergordon is £55 and the Craigellachie is £65. Very competitively priced in today’s market (especially the Craigellachie) which gives it another thumbs up (I’m running out of thumbs). So the only thing left is the liquid…

Invergordon 2007 11yo
GreatDrams
46.2% ABV
£55 here (50cl)

Nose: Pine, wood sap, resin, putty and a clean note of mint humbugs and lemon sherbet. Then maple syrup, buttered pancakes, toffee pennies and green wood.

Palate: Very silky – caramel, Crunchie Bars, runny honey and toffee apples, along with green bananas, a wee white pepper nip and some freshly sawn oak.

Finish: Big on the toffee, with some light cinnamon and drying oak.

Craigellachie 2007 11yo
GreatDrams
46.2% ABV
£65 here (50cl)

Nose: Charred meat and BBQ embers along with liquorice, star anise, struck match and a touch of polished leather. Then glazed walnuts, hot cross buns and toasted raisins. Big and rich.

Palate: Cherry, manuka honey, molasses, dark treacle and Danish pastries. Then a whack of clove, a touch of cinnamon stick and a plate of smoked charcuterie.

Finish: Dark sticky fruits and woody spices. Very moreish.

Overall: Two completely different, and thoroughly enjoyable whiskies. The light, silky Invergordon offers insight into a distillery not many people will be familiar with, and the liquid serves as a great, everyday sipper. I can easily see a bottle of this being cracked open among 4 or 5 friends, the cork being thrown away, and the bottle being drained over the course of a night. It also strikes me as a whisky to be played around with – it would no doubt work well in a highball or other refreshing cocktail. The Craigellachie on the other hand is a dirty, meaty, intense beast… basically everything I love about Craigellachie. The six months spent being finished in an oloroso sherry cask have served it well and provide a lovely smoked meatiness and richly fruity side to the whisky. If Greg’s future single cask releases are of similar quality, I cannot wait to see what 2019 will bring. Very impressive – great job mate.

 

 

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