It’s name meaning “Big Rock,” Cragganmore has a storied history beginning with its founding by whisky legend John Smith of Macallan, Glenlivet, and Glenfarclas fame and leading to its current home in the Diageo group. Coming in at 40% ABV, Cragganmore 12 has a reputation as a tart, dry, aromatic scotch; would the 6-month-old bottle from which I reviewed it hold up to this reputation?
This dram had an amber color, perhaps closer to gold. The nose instantly reminded me of Scapa 14, with it’s notes of heather and honey. Also present is an abundance of floral notes and a strong herbal overtone. The nose on Cragganmore 12 is very pleasantly complex. The body was medium, with a long-lasting creaminess on the tongue. The palate was quite sweet and fruity, again reminding me of Scapa 14. A little bit smoky and salty as well. The finish is long and light.
I am shocked at the complexity. Every sip brings different flavors and thoughts. Chestnuts? Toffee? Grapes? Ginger? Lemon? Vanilla? Potentially one of the most complex whiskies I’ve tasted, and given I predominately prefer strong peaty Islays and this is a Speyside, that is really saying something. You can clearly see why it has historically been used in blends, adding considerable depth in any situation. Cragganmore 12 is definitely worth a try, even if it is 25% more expensive than the similar Scapa 14.