Cragganmore 1985 Murray McDavid Mission Gold Series

Cragganmore 1985 Murray McDavid Mission Gold Series 1

Ended up with this dram that I was very surprised about.

See, I’ve had some Cragganmore before. And the typical, 12 year is.. well, kinda boring to me. Not “I’ll pass it up” boring, more… meh. Especially for the $85 price tag.

So during a swap I decided I’ll try the 21 year old. You know, that special edition that came out, from Diageo awhile back? Oh wait, it wasn’t that one at all. Because the colour is off. What’s going on?

It was better than expected.

It was the Cragganmore 1985 Murray McDavid Mission Gold Series.

Well, may I be the first to say, HOLY BALLS!

This limited edition bottling of only 665 bottles is now the first ever I’ve had from the Murray McDavid IB. That’s like ordering an ice cream cone with 5 scoops and instead getting fellatio/cunnilingus by a porn star.

Which will really throw off a day at the park with your SO. Or improve it, who am I to judge.

Enough gushing, let’s dive in, shall we?

Cragganmore 1985 Murray McDavid Mission Gold Series 2

Price: N/A in Ontario

Region: Speyside

Abv: 56.5%

Cask Type: Bourbon / Syrah, “Enhanced in Guigal Cote Rotie casks”

Guigal is a French wine manufacturer who ages their Syrah wines for a long ass time (to use the technical term).

Also they aren’t 100% Syrah; in typical French fashion, they add 4%of a white wine, Viognier, the only permitted grape for the French wine Condriu in the Rhône valley

Distilled: 1985

Bottled: At Bruichladdich, 2006

Colour: Amazing red & light brown

I normally don’t say much about the colour, but wow. This is amazing. The mixture of the ex-Bourbon with the Syrah makes this a thing of beauty. Bonus points for making me want to drink it.

Nose: Lemon, rhubarb, orange, cranberry, fruit punch, brown sugar, black tea, hickory

Starts out with that Cragganmore citrus right off the bat, then… tons of red fruits, and deep black sugar. And a Smoke that I couldn’t identify.

Then my wife told me it was Hickory. Must have been thinking about something else, but yeah, it’s hickory.

Taste: Dry cranberry, grapes, burn, pepper, licorice, juicy apple, orange rind

Quite dry, a tiny bit of burn (that disappears after another 15 minutes of air), and tons of fruit. I’m wishing for a tiny bit more spice, or some more vanilla from the bourbon cask.

It’s a minor complaint, but still one, none the less.

Finish: Hickory smoke, plum, strawberry, oak, dry Asian pear, Hot Tamales candy, light radish

This finishes like some odd bastard child of the Highlands, an Islay, Overproof Bourbon, and a port finished malt.

And just as a note, this is the correct amount of dryness. Not enough that I need to pair it with something, enough that it balances the sweet aspects.

Conclusion: This is what we call a treat. An amazing treat. First off, it’s finished with red wine, and that’s just unique. The bourbon elements really punch up the Cragganmore juice in all the right ways. The nose is better than normal, and the finish is really unique, long, and tasty.

That all said, the taste was lacking something. I don’t know what. Maybe longer in the wine barrels? Maybe younger wine barrels? Maybe I’m full of shit. None the less, marks deducted for that, but not many.


Scotch review #181, Speyside review #56, Whisky Network review #243

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