Next up for the 2020 Diageo Special Releases is a bottling from Cragganmore, unique because a 20 year old expression has never before appeared as a distillery bottling. (It’s not nearly as unique as the 2019, however, which was an experimental, moderately peated edition.) This 2020 expression is matured in refill ex-bourbon and new fresh-charred casks.
The nutty citrus notes on the nose strangely evoke Pedro Ximenez sherry, though that’s not a cask type that touches this whisky. Notes of savory herbs give this a surprising level of aromatic depth.
The palate settles into a somewhat more familiar groove that’s dominated by nougat, sharp citrus, and some red apple notes. As it evolves in the glass it takes on a somewhat cottony, incense-heavy note, becoming earthy and quite rich toward the finish. I get an unusual hint of melon, doused in brown butter, on the conclusion.
This has some nuance to it, but it isn’t the most surprising whisky in the lineup; that said, it’s decidedly lovely and drinkable throughout the experience. Surprisingly good price on this one, considering the age.
A- / $171 / malts.com