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Cragganmore, Old Pulteney & Elijah Craig.. which won my heart?

This was my 2nd time to Flight West and I plan to go back early next week again too. The new bartender didn't know much about whiskey, so I was on my own. No problem though, I picked some awesome drams this week to try! Now remember, I am no expert by any means. I do all the tasting notes and then when I get home I compare mine to the "experts". It's fun and exciting when you have commonalities! My goal is similar to people who study wine.. find specific characteristics for each style, age, vintage etc. and memorize those so that you know what you have on a blind tasting.

Cragganmore 12 Year

Holly's Note..

Nose- Candy, pear, peach, very fresh, fruit farm. Smells fun. I literally thought it smelled like a Florida orange farm.

Palate- Less youth, jams, richer, grass, orange rind, some slight smoke.

The expert's Note..

Nose- Flowers, dried fruits, cooked plum, honey, roasted chestnut, toffee.

Palate- Black fruits, honey, peach with a hint of smoke lingering.

Info about Cragganmore Distillery

Found in 1869 and owned by Diageo. Speyside Region. Capacity of 423,000 gallons. Reference point- Makers Mark is over 2.2 Millions Gallons in Capacity.


Old Pulteney 12 Year

This one was hard for me to read after the Cragganmore. It was lacking something for me.

Holly's Note..

Nose- Urine, light floral almost sour. Some strawberries. Very faint.

Palate- Chocolate, chocolate cake, coconut, dark berries, wood, earth, leaves. Tasted a little dead, like dirt to me.

The expert's Note..

Nose- Oil, coconut, milk chocolate, mango.

Palate- Butterscotch, honeycomb, nectarine, maritime finish.

Info about Old Pulteney Distillery

Founded in 1826 and owned by Inverhouse Distillers. They are the 2nd most northerly distillery in Scotland. Beautiful location. Can’t wait to visit!

Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon

Crazy fun to smell. The color was such a rich mahogany brown like Ron Burgundy! Check out the link below the tasting note. It explains why this bourbon went from a 12 year age statement to no age statement. The business is changing due to demand!

Holly's Note..

Nose- Raspberries, honey nut cream cheese from Wegmans, blackberries, oak, some char.

Palate- Dates, sweet, cedar chest, wood lingers like you can taste the barrel.

The expert's Note..(he didn’t think as highly of aromas as I did, but he was tasting the 12 year. Hard to find the no age statement)

Nose- Toasty oak, creamy sweetness.

Palate- Stewed fruits, spice, aniseed.

Info about Elijah Craig

Owned by Heaven Hill and couldn’t keep up with demand. Now the original 12 year statement needs to be “no age” since it could range from 8-12 year barrels now. Very interesting industry change!

Kilchoman Machir Bay

Loved the name, but not impressed by this one.

Holly's Note..

Nose- Iodine, flowers, lilac maybe, maybe some smoke but not finding much.

Palate- Sweet at first taste and then some peat. Get some apple, rotten peach, some smoke but needs help.

The expert's Note..

Nose- Damp straw, peat, chestnuts, young, moss, plums.

Palate- Medicinal, iodine (gets worse with water), black pepper, juniper. He said if you add water it gets more medicinal and taste like damp wood.


Info about Kilchoman Distillery

Islay’s newest distillery and was opened in 2005. First distillery to be built on that island in over 100 years. Owned by the founder Anthony Wills. This is rare! They are considered “farm distillery” meaning they grow the barley at a nearby farm and do malting on site. Only 6 other distilleries do this. Can’t wait to visit!

I would have to say Cragganmore wins this time! Elijah was a close, close second and within writing this I have already recommended it to people to have for their 4th of July parties! Also, below is my heaven: Cheese, bread, a dram and my whiskey book.

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