Craigellachie ‘Fire’ 12 Years Old (Old Particular Elements)
‘Elements’ is Douglas Laing’s Old Particular Limited Edition series for 2019. In 2017 for example, the independent bottler released the ‘Consortium of Cards’ series, which included a few very good whiskies, like this Mortlach, which I bought but (I now realise) never wrote a review for.
This year, four Old Particular bottlings will be released in total, each one representing a different element. I have to admit, the concept isn’t super original, but what the hell, as long as the whisky is good, right? The first installment in the series is a single sherry butt from Craigellachie, aged for 12 years.
Interestingly, there seem to be two different editions? One is bottled at 54.3 percent and is (at the time I wrote this) still available on the Douglas Laing website. The other, which I received a sample of, is bottled at 53.9 percent. I think they’re pretty similar, but surely they’re not exactly the same. I’m not sure what the deal is here.
Craigellachie ‘Fire’ 12 Years Old (53.9%, Douglas Laing, 285 bts.)
Nose: Wort and and a touch of fruity hops and copper coins, backed by candy canes. I know, sounds weird, and it probably actually is a little bit weird. But once were into the sweets, things markedly improve. Touches of strawberry, cherry syrup and Scottish oatcakes, as well as dark spices. Really enticing.
Taste: The sherry butt certainly has had its influence, but the Craigellachie spirit is strong in this one. Sourdough and yeast, with plenty of grains. The oatcakes make an encore, for example. Subtle notes of dark chocolate with slightly more intense chili peppers. A touch of cherry syrup and spent matches as well.
Finish: Surprising taste of subtle smoke and charred oak after a little while.
A fun whisky this is. Craigellachie always has a certain uniqueness to me, and this isn’t any different. Sometimes that uniqueness is a negative, other times – like with this release – it is a positive. I like it!
Sample provided by Douglas Laing
Photo: The Whisky Exchange
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.