Craigellachie 23 Year Exceptional Cask Series Sherry Cask (1995)

Scotch Whisky Review #303: Craigellachie 23 Year Exceptional Cask Series Sherry Cask (1995)

Distillery: Craigellachie.

Region: Speyside.

Age: 23 Year. Distilled on September 19th, 1995. Bottled on July 10th, 2019.

Cask Type: Sherry

Cask Number: 4575

ABV: 57.5%

Price: $50 for a pour at Dundee Dell in Omaha, NE.

Color: 1.7, Burnt Umber.

Note: This was one of the first pours out of a bottle of this. It most likely would improve with time and air interaction, but I’ve recorded my notes based off of my one encounter thus far.

Nose: Near sherry bomb levels of sherry here. It’s quite rich and strong out of the gates here. There are a ton of herby notes that come along with the sherry, dried thyme stands out the most but there are others in this massive herb mix. Some mineral water wraps things up.

Palate: First sip is much like the nose, tons of sherry exploding onto the scene. Subsequent sips have less of it but come with a rather meaty note. Some fruits come in last starting with a truckload of berries before moving onto some guava. With some water, the fruitier notes intensify.

Finish: Undiluted, the finish is medium to short in length but it is quite intensely flavorful while it lasts. You get the burst of berries again along with the dried herb mix and mineral water. After water is added, the finish becomes quite long. Strawberries come through strongly, both ones that are nice and ripe as well as some that are a tad under-ripe. Grilled pineapple and blackberries are also present. A hint of cream pops in along with this gassy note that I couldn’t quite place.

Conclusion: I’ve heard nothing but good things about the Dewar’s Exceptional Cask Series, particularly the ones at higher strength, and was pleasantly surprised to see a new bottle of this at the re-opened Dundee Dell in Omaha. The sherry notes out of the gates are delicious, the meaty notes that follow is are as well. The fruit explosions toward the back are nice as well, especially in the finish after water is added. The herby notes add a nice earthy element here while still being quite complementary. The gassy note towards the end is a bit confusing and I wish I had some more to tinker around with. It’s definitely an improvement on the regular 13 year old, though whether it’s enough of one to warrant the price gap is perhaps debatable. I have a hunch that this bottle would improve after some time open, but even as is it is quite tasty. Perhaps one to revisit in the future!

Final Score: 85

Scotch Whisky Review #303, Speyside Review #112, Whisky Network Review #445

Scoring Legend:

  • 96-100: The perfect dram, nectar of the gods.
  • 90-95: Near perfect, there is something truly special about this whisky.
  • 85-89: Amazing, will always try to keep a bottle of this in my collection (if feasible).
  • 80-84: Very Good, maybe only one minor nitpick about the whisky keeping it here.
  • 75-79: Good, quite enjoyable to drink.
  • 70-74: Solid, wouldn’t go out of my way to get it.
  • 60-69: Meh, still drinkable.
  • Below 59: If you have a bottle of this, start cooking with it instead.

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