Dewar Rattray Craigellachie Tasting Notes

Posted: August 26, 2011 in Craigellachie, Scotch Whisky A-G

A.D Rattray Craigellachie 2008 (6 year old) 58%

Sherry Cask 900861/ Dist: 2008 Btl: 2015/ Tasted: Feb 2015

A fresh and gristy nose with plenty of floral honey and grass. The sherry is quite subtle and ads just a touch of sweetness. With time hints of herbs, fleshy apricot, earth an light coffee notes appear.

The palate is sweet-ish and a little gristy with honey and malt. It becomes quite earthy with raisins, sultana, dunnage and gentle sherry spices. Good, crisp finish with lingering honey and earth.

With water the nose is a little less effusive with hints of toffee and more herbal notes. The palate is softer and rounder with more toffee, apricot and fleshy white fruit. Still quite fresh with a dry, mineral finish and nutty after-taste.

A.D Rattray Craigellachie 2008 (6 year old) 58%

Sherry Cask 900861/ Dist: 2008 Btl: 2015/ Re-Tasted: Sept 2015

A big, pungent and earthy nose of raw sherry. It treads a fine line between rawness and dirtiness, but I’ll forgive it that for the sheer intensity of the raw wood, coffee, walnut cream, toffee and yet more earth!

The palate is equally as pungent with coffee, toffee and primal, raw, tannic wood! Again treads the line, as they say with earthy dried fruit and intense, slightly eye watering alcohol and herbal spice on the finish.

With water the aromas become slightly floral and fragrant, possibly a little more muddy and manurey now but still quite raw. The palate is still earthy but softer with more spicy dried fruit evident along with a touch of vanilla. Dilution obviously tames the alcohol and lengthens the finish, which is wonderfully chocolaty.

Dewar Rattray Craigellachie 2002 (8 year old) 60.1%

Re-Fill Sherry 900073/ Dist: 2002 Btl: 2011/ Tasted: Feb 2011

A very spirity nose, somewhat akin to acetone mingled with sulphur tainted cask notes. Good grief there are alcoholic/ botanical notes all over the place. It’s like a Sauvignon on steroids with a latent, rather nasty metallic edge. All a bit of a mess to be honest.

The palate is sweet, sugary and sulphured before the alcohol wades in and then it’s bye-bye taste buds! Grubby and confected with a sugary marc like finish. Water makes not one iota of change!

Dewar Rattray Craigellachie 2002 (12 year old?) 60%

Bourbon Cask 4 Dist: 2002 Btl: 2014/ Tasted: May 2014

A nose of gristy barley and alcohol! Hints of grass, leafy herbs, lightly perfumed white fruit and lemon.

Quite full on the palate, opening with sweet barley. A touch of caramel and grass develops on the middle. Again quite alcoholic with a little, clean, rose petal marc notes. The finish is masked although there’s a touch of dusty spicy tannins in the after-taste.

Water makes the aroma harder and granity as well as emphasising the caramel. A little simpler but pleasantly grassy and citric. The palate is quite sweet now – sweet barley and sugar coated citru. Like the nose more toasted  caramel is noticeable and butter as the oak evolves. Pleasantly soft finish with a light peppery marc after-taste.

Dewar Rattray Craigellachie 1998 (13 year old) 56.1%

Bourbon cask 10384/ Dist: 1998 Btl: 2012/ Tasted: Nov 2012

The show displays quite an alcohol prickle but beyond that there is some relatively mature honey, grass, citrus and plenty of nippy spices. Very deep with a light perfumed edge and some lovely buttery oak.

The buttery oak shows first on the palate and is quite dominating. It’s joined by some soft but nippy spices and gentle honey. The spices really hit the middle! Deep, but a tad linear with a slightly masked finish.

A drop of water emphasises the oak and brings out a touch of herbal toffee, although it’s still very deep and honeyed. Very impressive. The palate is softer now with some lovely lemon note. Gloriously juicy and broad now with plenty of honeyed barley. Maybe not quite as spicy now but the finish has a lovely castor sugar coating.

Dewar Rattray Craigellachie 2003 (13 year old) 58.9%

Bourbon Hogshead 127/ Dist: Jun 2003 Btl: July 2016/ Tasted: Sept 2016

A murky, dirty and feinty nose. Rough and cardboardy with hard barley, liquorice and mixed, dried herbs.

The palate is as much fun as the nose! Hard and industrial with wet cardboard, liquorice and malt. Hot finish with lingering industrial notes.

The nose is still murky when diluted but a touch of orange attempts to lighten. The palate is flat, watery and still cardboardy!

Dewar Rattray Craigellachie 1989 (15 year old) 54.2%

Refill Bourbon Cask/ Dist: Oct 1989 Btl: Sept 2005/ Tasted: Nov 2005

Clean, youthful-ish nose. Lots of creamy vanilla oak, crème caramel and a touch of smoke. A bit inspid and fartoo much oak. Dry on the palate, again vanilla oak plus sugary/ sherberty sweet fruit along with a touch of smoke and spice.

Water brings out an orange note and not a lot else!

Dewar Rattray Craigellachie 1990 (16 year old) 54.7%

Bourbon Cask 3881/ Dist: Oct 1990 Btl Aug 2006

Interesting nose, opens with coffee/tobacco leaf on a wet morning, followed by clean apricot fruit and creamy vanilla – builds nicely becoming a touch creamy with a wood smoke nuance. Quite sweet on the palate, rounded and nicely fruity with vanilla oak and gentle spices. Over time it develops a sort of slightly leafy/woody middle. Tangy length with custard cream after taste – Good crispness/freshness throughout.

Dewar Rattray Craigellachie 1991 (16 year old) 60.7%

Bourbon Cask 6924/ Dist: Aug 1991 Btl: Sept 2007/ Tasted: Oct 2007

A lovely nose! Delicate and deep with bags of character. Dusty spices mingle with rich apricot, tangerine fruit and wonderful mature honey. The complexity of thearomas seems unending, next comes a delicate floral peach note followed by toffee and vanilla cream.

The palate is creamy and soft with apricot, peach, tangerine, earth, spices and maturing honey. A lovely intensity which develops a leafy/ botanical note. The finish is long and somewhat dominated by the alcohol.

With the addition of water one word springs to mind – Wow! It’s sublime, just like a floral orange liqueur. The palate isn’t bad either! It’s now a wonderful mouthful of citrus/ honeyed deliciousness and the spices! Like angels dancing on your tongue – Superb!

Dewar Rattray Craigellachie 1991 (20 year old) 59.5%

Bourbon Cask 6921/ Dist: 1991 Btl: 2011/ Tasted: Oct 2011

A rather hard, earthy and grainy nose. In fact tasted blind you would be forgiven for thinking that it was a grain whisky.  There are some notes of brittle honey and toasted barley and with time the honey does become quite floral and the spirit notes become rather botanical in character.

The palate is very earthy with hints of mature honey along with a touch of coffee. The combination of alcohol and the graininess of the spirit make the middle quite mouth-watering. The light coffee/ hickory note is ever present and the finish is relatively oily, but the alcohol really needs taming.

With water the oak comes flooding in on the nose adding caramel, linseed oil and a touch of unsweetened marshmallow. Quite juicy now but too oak dominated. The palate is now softer but simpler and like the nose the oak holds sway but in doing so brings a lot of bitterness with it and I’m afraid there is not enough sweetness to balance that. The finish is now quite short and botanical.


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