Having been passionately inspired by all things whisky for well over a decade, it’s only natural to have developed an affinity for other belting barrel based beverages. Afterall the likes of Sherry, Port and Rum play such an important influencing roll during the maturation and finishing processes of whisky.
As part of my continuing course of cask appreciation, I’ve developed a real Rum passion and an ever-growing curiosity for all things Cognac. It’s on the latter that I’ve also found a fondness for its much underrated, but in my opinion the just as sensational sipping sibling on the Brandy front – Armagnac!
Now the question is, what do you get when you combine one of Speyside’s most robust and richly rewarding single malts, with a feisty, fruity and as equally fabulous Armagnac? Well the answer is Craigellachie Distillery’s new 13 Year Old Armagnac Cask Finish.
The Nose dishes up and delivers a fabulous five-a-day of Bramley apples, Conference pears, grilled pineapple rings, Armagnac steeped sultanas and a gooseberry fool served with a few shortbread fingers on the side.
The nasal niceties continue with a good drizzle of caramel sauce, mixed citrus peel, anise, ground cinnamon, freshly washed cotton sheets, tobacco leaves and subtle sweet wood smoke.
The Palate kicks off with spiced baked apples, vanilla poached pears, more of those Armagnac steeped sultanas, lemon Swiss roll, Tunnock's caramel wafers and a generous dollop of Chantilly cream.
The palatable pleasures continue to delight with pineapple jelly babies, mixed fruit boiled travel sweets, slices of buttered malt loaf, anise, ground pimento, mixed spice and oodles of opulent oak.
The Finish is as long as it is fabulous, and all the fruity sweet treats that this first release in brands new Cask Collection series has to offer, are balanced out beautifully by the addition of something dry and vinous.
Being a rarity on the Armagnac finishing front, not only does this latest release demonstrate the excellence of Craigellachie’s superb spirt, it also highlights their dedication to top notch cask management. All in all, it’s rather craigelacking good!