Cragganmore 20, 1999-2020, Recharred American oak casks, 55.8%

Of course I had already forgotten about it, but I did get a sample of last year’s Cragganmore Special Release by Diageo. It’s not even that the announcement of the special releases for this autumn reminded me of it, I just happened to stumble upon the remainder of the sample.

So, last Sunday I decided it was time to both finish the sample and write some tasting notes.

I’m generally not a huge fan of Cragganmore. Not that I dislike it, but I’ve never really cared about the brand. The regular 12 year old is a middle-of-the-road whisky that is bottled at 40%, and could probably be a whole lot better when bottled at 46%. Although, geeks like me probably isn’t the demography they’re marketing to.

Image from Whiskybase

Anyway, a 20 year old came out last year. The year before it there was a peated special edition, which I didn’t like. Somehow I had hope for this one.

It starts with some very gentle notes of honey, with sweet barley and oak. After that I get heather and dried apple, with a bit of a papery undertone.

The palate is, somehow, a little bit ashy, with oak. There’s reed, barley, straw and heather. Very straight forward, but it somehow seems to get to the core of whisky.

A full finish with lots of barley driven flavors. Again, there’s reed and apple, oak and straw. But all of a sudden I also get strawberries.

I didn’t check anything about the whisky before tasting it and was surprised by the ashy note I got on the palate. Knowing now that it’s drawn from new fresh-charred casks it’s not as surprising of course.

I actually love this whisky. I like that with all the barley driven flavors and the new charring it seems to get to the core of whisky. Barley and oak. It’s mellowed nicely over time and I didn’t really feel the burn of almost 56% ABV. Very good stuff!


Available in lots of places for about € 140


About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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1 Response to Cragganmore 20, 1999-2020, Recharred American oak casks, 55.8%

  1. Troy says:

    Oddly enough, I tend to get a faint, nice, subtle, cigar-smoke on the finish of the OB Cragganmore 12…I’m not surprised you’re getting that ashy-note here. I missed my chance at this bottle, but wish I had one. Nice review. Sounds like solid malt whisky.

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