Craigellachie 13 – The Bad Boy of Single Malts

46% ABV – 92 Proof
USC Rating: 93
Distiller Rating: 88
Suggested Retail Price: $70

Photo: Courtesy Bacardi Ltd

Mark Garbin’s Review: They call Craigellachie 13 the “bad boy” of single malts; a moniker well deserved. Its old-fashioned distillation method requires cooling in copper coils called a worm tub (Click here).

The result highlights every flavor and appeals to the Adventurer. Sweet honey malt starts the party but suddenly spice, smoke, salt and a curious minerality hits the mouth with a soft bitter herb essence. These attributes persist until you swallow with the hot spicy taste remaining through the quick finish. Adding water eliminates the residual acerbic trait and creates a firmness that lasts on the tongue finishing with a light smolder and heather nectar with medium length.

Caution: each of the whisky’s qualities rises to the fore with muscle and competes for your attention. Surrender to the inevitable. Either ally yourself to focus on one of the warring tastes or decide what food is the ideal accompaniment to this spirit.

I thought of lamb chops or venison. There are few single malts that can stand up to such powerful meals. You’ll find the tang of strong-flavored meat a wonderful juxtaposition to the strength of this drink.

Alternatively, try a strong cigar but beware: The stogie needs a backbone to withstand the onslaught.

Otherwise, be prepared to storm the castle of your senses with Craigellachie 13 as your trusted companion.

Mark Garbin’s Evaluation:

Aromas & Flavor Appeals to:Optimal Client TypeGreat For:
Subtlety AficionadoApprenticeCocktails
Power Flavor AdmirerEnthusiastNeat Before Dinner
Balanced DevoteeAdventurerWith Food
Uni-Directional FanMountain ClimberDessert or Afterwards
Chameleon LoverHedonistWith a Cigar rating: Taking a whiff of this whisky instantly takes you to Scotland. Rich malt, apples dipped in honey, hay, and gentle wood spices fill your head as you inhale. The whisky is moderately full on your palate and continues with the orchard fruits but adds some lemon and a touch of mint. Having been bottled at 92 proof, the spiced notes are heightened and finishes on the dry side, but there’s still a little sweetness left to soften the blow. –Stephanie Moreno

Malted Blog: Nose – Oh bags of fruits: apples, pears, passion fruits. The fruit is fizzy & slightly fermented so think like boiled sweets and apple cider. A touch of caramel & honey too.
Palate – The texture is big thick and luxurious. There is sulphur and esters for sure here as well. More caramel and some crack of pepper.
Finish – The finish isn’t massively long but it is very bitter and astringent. Sour tang of wood sap. Quite the roller coaster of a dram.