Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar 3rd edition Day 2 Blog # 135 – Wemyss Barrista’s Dram Craigellachie

Off to the wonderful and magical land of Wemyss Malts. I might have said this before, in fact I definitely have, but I love the creativity that Wemyss bring to their single cask range with an awesome descriptive title that gives everyone an idea of what they might expect from each unique bottling.
There has certainly been a lot of attention on the US of late and its actually a bit of relief that there are other events of note that are getting media attention now. I wanted to throw in a tiny 2 cent info piece to get some feedback from the calendar community if I may. Wemyss Malts are colorful and creative when it comes to their naming of casks. When you as a consumer see the title of today’s whisky “Barrista’s Dram do you think of possible coffee notes or do you think that this might be a flavored whisky that includes a coffee infusion?
I ask because I know that there can be confusion about flavours found in whisky. The label approval process in the US makes it very clear that any descriptive term on the label should not lead the consumer to believe that there is something held within the whisky that there is not. We found this specifically challenging when trying to register whiskies like Kumquat Cluster and Aromatic Orange Tobacco from the second edition calendar. Makes it tough for companies like Wemyss and Compass Box. The label clearly states that this is Craigellachie Single Malt Whisky so I ask you, should that be good enough to clear things up or should labelling be more protective? Just thought I would stir the pot a little on this second day of December. I am fairly transparent in my blogging so I’m sure you already know where I stand on this issue.
So onto the whisky – Wemyss Malts Barrista’s Dram Craigellachie 13 Year Old Single Malt Whisky. Bottled from a refill Sherry Butt numbered 900083 – region Speyside and bottled at the usual Wemyss strength of 46% ABV.
Barrista’s Dram Craigellachie
Craigellachie is a distillery that I really enjoy and has made several appearances in past editions. It is also a town in Scotland that has an awesome couple of whisky bars that I was lucky enough to frequent earlier this year on my first trip to Speyside. The Highlander at the Craigellachie Hotel was awesome and you can catch my blog on the trip here.
The Distillery was planned and building commenced in 1891 with whisky production starting in 1898. Owned by Bacardi and used for their Dewars Blended whiskies. Craigellachie is a workhorse distillery that is not a picturesque tourist attraction like so many other gorgeous Scottish Distilleries. It does however produce some delicious whisky and also has a proprietary label in the market. It is from independent bottlers though that I have found this distillery really shines.
Craigellachie Distillery
Colour:     Just a hint of a blush to give you a wink and a nod that this was indeed aged in a sherry butt. Without that slight tinge it could easily be mistaken for an American oak aged whisky as it is honeyed amber beyond that tiny flush of pink.
Nose:     Ahhh there it is and unmistakable – Sweet sherry and bitter chocolate mocha with a deep dark almost tar like note. As spock would say “fascinating”. I could go along with Wemyss on this as the mocha could easily be dark roast slightly bitter coffee grounds.
Palate:    Crema, that tiny but tasty top layer on only the best double espresso’s is right there rolling into those softer sherry notes that spike some sweetness into the mix.
Finish:     Dry and lingering with some crusty orange peel and I get that earthy bag of spent coffee grounds that you would spread on the garden as part of that drying effect.
Really interesting dram and probably the most unusual Craigellachie I have ever had. I love it.
In the 2nd Edition on day 2 we had the amazing Portsoy Sauterne from Malt Whisky Company (another Stuart Nickerson special). This whisky turned out to be one of the most sought after bottles of the second edition. You can read all about it here.
Would love to get some feedback on your thoughts about labeling. Get ready for tomorrow as we head to somewhere way up North and I mean WAY North, for a really cool whisky put together by our friend Stuart Nickerson of the Malt Whisky Company and Shetland Island Distillery.
You can read Johanne’s take on the Barrista’s Dram at Whisky Lassie here.
If you like this whisky email me at jonathan@secretspirits.com for retail options.
See you tomorrow
Cheers
Jonathan – taster of secrets

5 comments

  1. Scott says:

    So this happens to me from time to time and it is a touch unfortunate. The first impression I get on the nose is tequila (I hate tequila) but happily I let this sit for a while and that has lessened significantly. I am struggling to get the coffee grounds.

    The tequila smell has returned to Mexico now and I am enjoying this a lot. Creamy and gentle finish. I don’t believe I have met a Wemyss I didn’t love and this has kept the tradition alive.

    As for labeling – I see no harm in being creative, provided the facts that inform the consumer as to where the whisky originates and who bottles it. In general I struggle to understand how these “rules” protect anyone.

    Now on to day three as i am playing catch up.

  2. Jerome says:

    Making clear wether their is addition or not to the whisky seems obvious.
    Thanks for bringing that up.
    I opened my day two treat at morning coffee time. So yes I smell coffee 🙂 I’ll wait a wee while before enjoying the nectar. Let you know…

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