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1991 Cragganmore 17 Year Manager's Dram Single Malt Scotch Whisky Review: Short Stills Producing Fresh Fruit

Cragganmore Distillery
Photo Credit: Joshua Feldman, the Coopered Tot

Cragganmore Distillery is a Speyside Scotch whisky distillery situated in the village of Ballindalloch in Banffshire, Scotland.

The distillery was founded in 1869 by John Smith on land leased from Sir George Macpherson-Grant. The site was chosen by Smith, both for its proximity to the waters of the Craggan Burn and because it was close to the since-disused Strathspey Railway. Smith was an experienced distiller, having already been manager of the Macallan, Glenlivet, Glenfarclas, and Wishaw distilleries. The distillery is taken over by John’s brother, George, and then by John’s son, Gordon.

In 1923, after Gordon's death, his widow Mary Jane took over and finally sold it to the Cragganmore-Glenlivet Distillery Co., which is owned equally by Peter Mackie from White Horse and Ballindalloch Estate.

The stills used in the second distillation (the spirit still) of Cragganmore whisky are unique in having a flat top and being relatively short. This, in addition to the use of sherry casks, is likely responsible for the fruitier character of the whisky.

A big thank you to Gregory Cloyd for organizing such an illuminating tasting. It was a privilege to explore his beautiful garden while tasting through the Manager's Dram lineup with a wonderful group of whisky enthusiasts.


Company on Label: Mannochmore Distillery

Whiskey Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Mash Bill Percentages: 100% malted barley

Proof: 124°

Age: 17 years (distilled in 1975 and bottled November 25th, 1992)

Further identification: On the front label: A sherry cask specially selected and bottled at natural strength for malt distillery managers within United Distillers.


Nick's Thoughts

Nose: Sticky peach cobbler—the bottom bits. Rich raisin that reminds me of the 1994 GlenDronach, but a touch more dry. I find dates, chlorine, and the smell of white hotel pool towels at times. Water changed this into aged balsamic vinegar. The empty glass smells of salted caramel, almonds, and milk chocolate.

Palate: Wow. This is all sherry. Sweet & dry for days on end. Another sip is like bacon wrapped dates. Wow again. Raisin, plum, and another red fruit I cannot place impresses the tongue. I find a touch of nectarine in this wonderful fruit basket. With water, this whisky turns sandy, but still fruity. It’s like lugging a cooler through hot, deep sand to sit in the sun for way too long; where’s the fun in that?

Jes's Thoughts

Nose: Moist, sweet bread with a hint of almond extract. I like this. There's a retro dessert mood, too—sticky toffee pudding in a glass dish. Later in the glass, I'm taken to a sandy beach with gently lapping waves and a ripened peach in my hand.

Palate: Full-bodied and rich, and that sherry, hello! Sea salt, soft cheeses, and red grapes—a Persian dessert plate done to the nines. Wowza. The bread note reminds me of a fruitcake with the best-picked fruit on the farm. Just. Yum.


Rating: 4/5

What a lovely malt exploration. Nick and Jes really liked this fruity side of things. Have you tried Cragganmore before?


Written by: The Amongst the Whiskey Team




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