Cragganmore 21 year old, 56%

Price: $205.00 Issue: Spring 2011 Reviewer: Dave Broom

The lightness of the hue suggests a very slow maturation in refill casks, and while I tried hard to get to grips with this, I found the nose simply too discreet. There's a hint of the burning bonfire which indicates the subtle smoke that underpins Cragganmore; there's even some parma violet, dried berries, and a hint of sulfur.

The palate picks things up a little, showing ferns, wet moss, Oolong tea, and dried apple, as well as citrus and — surprisingly — some just-lit cigar fuminess. It's all rather understated, however. This is one of my top distilleries, but compared to the recent Special Releases and magnificent Friends of the Classic Malts bottlings, this is slightly underwhelming.