Craigellachie 9 2008 Single Cask Nation Oloroso Sherry Octaves

Thanks to /u/Saba007[ for pouring me this sample.

When’s a raven like a writing desk? When you’re in a horror movie and you’ve decided to force a living animal down in order to write on top of it, blood and feathers flying about, screaming borrowing itself into your mind.

Not all riddles are meant to be answered, as otherwise, everything seems violent, disturbing, and generally not fun.

So when is a Single Cask Nation divided against itself, perhaps still standing? When it’s one of the few Double Cask Nation whiskies from Single Cask Nation, a member-based group that sells single cask whiskies. And the odd double cask whisky.

But what’s the big deal about single casks? Well, most people have an idea of what whisky tastes like, and blenders/vatters typically like to stick close to that ideal. Thus the single cask whiskies, with their interesting and weird customs, not to mention sometimes frightening passports, can vary quite a bit, and be unique.

This is the fuel for the whisky nerd. Thus, as one of those, I’m excited to review Craigellachie 9 2008 Single Cask Nation Oloroso Sherry Octaves, a 9-year-old Craigellachie that comes from two Oloroso Sherry Octaves, or casks that are 1/8th the size of a regular cask, and holds 50 litres or 351.94 gills if you’re using Imperial measurements.

That’s quite a few gills. But how does it taste? Let’s see, shall we?

Price: N/A at the LCBO

Region: Speyside

Casks Used: 2 x FIrst Fill Oloroso Sherry Cask Octaves

Casks #s: 34 & 69

Distilled: February 2008

Bottled: May 2017

Total of 140 bottles

Abv: 63.7%

Colour: 7.5YR ⅝

Nose: Grassy, lime juice, hazelnut, pear kombucha

Interesting grassiness. That’s something I got from another Craigellachie from the time, at the same age, that’s missing from the OBs. That said, maybe it’s from younger versions, as an older IB from this distillery was missing it as well.

Still fruity, a bit of tannins. Sherry influence is lighter on the nose until water is added. If anything there’s more oak and spirit influence here.

Taste: Oak/vanilla, strawberry, anise, almond, alcohol

Holy oak bomb. Think wood forward and then wood backwards and maybe wood to the left as well. It’s like a golf bag full of drivers (nothing but wood) at first.

Time gives you more sherry influence. Also, this is quite hot and young, but oddly enough the wood dominates and that doesn’t really pop up until a drop of water is added.

Finish: Varnish, cherry, anise, mint, orange zest, hazelnut

Hot. Lots of wood elements. Closer to a virgin oak whisky than a sherried one, though there’s still that spice and orange. Also really hot. An issue I have with Craigellachie all the time is when they are hot, it’s a real bad issue.

Conclusion; Unique, very wood forward. Takes aspects of sherry and virgin oak casks and smashes them up. I don’t quite know if it’s working great.

Certainly interesting. And if you’re a fan of both virgin oak whiskies and that intense Oloroso full maturation flavour, then this could work. But remember it’s both, not just one. So it’s like buying a yacht and it happens to have a massive area for the poor. Sure, you may like that, but together? Maybe, maybe not.

Morality aside, there’s a lot of heat going on here. I still think that Octaves need to experimented with. Eventually one of these guys (other than Laphroaig and maybe Arran) are going to figure them out.


Scotch review #1100, Speyside review #310, Whisky review #1705

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