This new release from Craigellachie — the inaugural release in its new Cask Collection series — finishes a 13 year old whisky in brandy barrels, but eschews Cognac for its neighbor — Armagnac. It’s rare to see Armagnac-finished spirits of any type, so it’s fun to tuck into this new release, which is initially aged in bourbon barrels before wrapping things up (time unspecified) in Armagnac casks.
A big slug of malt and cereal on the nose cue you in to a classic Speyside experience, though a slightly rustic edge of barrel char, camphor, and clean linen take things in a new direction — the lattermost particularly evoking the floral notes of brandy. First sips showcase the grain clearly, popping with notes of lemon and grapefruit before meandering to notes of nougat and almond. The florals evident in the nose are muted here on the palate, though touches of lavender linger into the lasting, lightly perfumed finish. Some cinnamon and cocoa powder add an additional layer, but a gritty pinch of barrel char brings you back from the edge in the end.
B+ / $70 / craigellachie.com