Glencraig 33 Duncan Taylor Rarest of the Rare

Thanks to /u/unclimbability for pouring me this dram.

At the time of writing this there are 26 distilleries from Scotland that I can name that I’ve never reviewed.

Part of me says that’s pretty good: 130 different distilleries that I can list with reviews, 26 without. And it includes some whiskies that are alternative whiskies made by distilleries.

Take our whisky today Glencraig 33 Duncan Taylor Rarest of the Rare. You may do what I did: Google for a distillery. However there is no Glencraig distillery at all.

By adding a Lomond still to the Glenburgie distillery in 1958 the owners (Ballantines / Hiram Walker) could produce an alternate whisky that tasted different than the standard. Lomond stills also could be changed to obtain different flavours. Why? So you could offer a light, faster aging whisky to blenders to make new blends and sell more whisky to Americans.

By 1981 the Lomond stills were taken out back and shot (replaced with pot stills). From what I’ve heard the blenders wanted more Glenburgies to blend, not an alternative flavoured malt.

So on the one hand Glencraig was meant to be fast aging, light, and only used in blends. However the blenders being picky meant we have a 33-year-old whisky that was waiting for a blend to pick it up.

How does it taste? Let’s see, shall we?

Price: £ 599.00

Region: Speyside

Vintage: March 1974

Bottled: October 2007

Cask Number: 2923

Number of bottles: 220

Abv: 40.9%

Colour: 5Y 9/8

Nose: Pavlova, tangerine, black cherry, green apple

Creamy, sweet, and a bit tart. Actually a lot of tart. If this is a bit then a green apple orchard is a bit tart.

Bit more acidic than I usually go for, however some of the initial creaminess is balancing it a tad. Granted that goes away after a bit. Then it’s every puckering plant out there.

Taste: Hay, lots of green apple, honeydew melon, fennel

Farmy, some melon, some light anise. Oh, and all of the green apples out there that we just don’t get green Jolly Ranchers anymore. None of them. You did this Glenburgie.

Joking aside, I can see why this was made for blends. It does a few things on the taste really well, and is meant to scream that part in a chorus (that’s what singing is, right)? So this is your green apple. Period.

Finish: Green apple, mineral, caramel, nutmeg, grassy/hoppy

Hey, more green apples. Few thought it was going away.

Joking aside, the finish is a lot simpler but more balanced. You get some more of the grassiness that the taste awkwardly farms out to you. The spice is more played out, and the mineral really works against the tart fruitiness.

Conclusion: Nose is great, the rest is simple and heavy on the green apple. That’s about it. Am I surprised? No! Stop that thinking. Some whiskies that go into blends can be great. But the people behind this kinda, just kinda know what they are doing.


So what is this? It’s a fun bit of history that I then turned into a rant. It’s a ton of green apples and it’s fun to see what places did. I’ll keep trying to end my list, and get as close as I can. Try this if you get the chance, but don’t make it a must try. Or do, I’m not your mother.


Scotch review #1401, Speyside review #392, Whisky Network review #2078

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