Craigduff 40 1973 Signatory Vintage Cask Strength

Thanks to unclimbability  for pouring me this dram.

Controversial time! And not the one you thought would happen to me!

I’m much too boring outside my writing for that, now.

No, we’re talking about Craigduff today. What’s Craigduff, you ask? Well, I act like you ask at least.

That’s up for debate. So this is a peated Speysider. Not just peated once, but peated twice! The malt was peated and the water was peated.

However, where did it come from? According to Chivas it came from Strathisla, and they stand by that. But Signatory, upon seeing that, stated they were mistaken, and that it was made by Glen Keith. Chivas has since doubled down and stated this is Strathisla. There’s discussion of some being made at one distillery and then later at the other. This has since been denied by Chivas as well.

Do we care? Kinda, honestly, because I do like to know where things that go inside me are made and how they are made. It’s a thing I have called “Not living in a Libtertarian Nightmare”.

So we have a double peated whisky that is 40-years-old that was never supposed to be released by itself (used in blends, see previous reviews for discussion on that). How does it taste?

Price: CHF 599.00 (Swedish Francs)

Region: Speyside

Vintage: April 4 1973

Bottled: April 4, 2013

Cask Type: Refill Sherry Butt

Cask Number: 2516

Number of bottles: 616

Abv: 49.6%

Colour: 7.5Y 8/8

Nose: Peach, buttery caramel, cereal, gingersnaps Fruity, some strong buttery caramel notes, and some cereal that eventually grows some spices and probably gets colonized.

Nice nose. Nothing too crazy going on. No sign of any of the “double peat”, and given no one else has done this method since the 70s, I think we’re seeing what happens with it.

Taste: Cinnamon cracker, grass, brine, anise, plum sauce, ginger ale

And I’m proven wrong. Immediate cinnamon, some anise, and a random brine that I was completely not ready for.

Honestly I’m not really ready for any of these flavours. Strong sugar syrup mixed with tart and spicy elements. It’s like I’m 12 again and making myself lunch for the first time. All of it is fun and shouldn’t work yet very dry.

Finish: Oyster, mushroom, truffle, burnt ends, coffee, asparagus

Holy brine! Right here I’m getting almost a Highland Park vibe given the strong brine and earthiness.

If the taste was 12-year-old me getting food, then the finish is letting my friends who know what amazing food is ordering for me. Tons of complexity. Earth is typically one of those flavours that I have a hard time explaining complexity with and embracing complexity, yet this is it. So lovely and umami forward and complex.

Conclusion: Very weird and unique. Like if Highland Park decided to act like Loch Lomond and just “try stuff”. But only kinda, because I find Highland Park has more Sherry influence, where this is close to somewhere between an old crazy single grain and an older peated whisky.

But maybe even that’s doing a disservice to it? It’s like trying the best earthy things after making the cheapest meal of your life. The only real “not up to par” part is the nose. It never really meets the rest.

What I’m saying is this: If you have a chance to try a rare whisky, try it. This wasn’t even on my radar and I’d love to try another. Or someone could try out that method again maybe?


Scotch review #1405, Speyside review #396, Whisky Network review #2082

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