Craigellachie 13 Review

Craigellachie 13 Years Review
Craigellachie 13 is the second release, and my favorite, of the Last Great Malts. The first being the Aberfeldy 12 that I reviewed, and enjoyed, yesterday. This murky little dram with the name like a monster straight out of Tolkien’s notebook magically captures both the light and dark aspects of Speyside.

Located at the confluence of the River Spey and the River Fiddich, the Craigellachie distillery is smack dab in the middle of Speyside territory and the Craigellachie village is a popular destination for whisky tourists. The infamous Craigellachie hotel sits on a rocky bluff overlooking that meeting of the two rivers and has served as both lodging and a gathering place for whisky enthusiasts since it’s opening.

However those enthusiast are rarely there for the little known Craigallechie distillery and are there for its neighbors The Macallan, Glenfiddich, Aberlour and Glen Grant. Though with how unique and delicious this Craigellachie 13 is, I hope that changes pretty soon.

Craigellachie 13 Info

Region: Speyside, Scotland

Distiller: Craigellachie
Mashbill: 100% Malted Barley
Cask: ex-Bourbon
Age: 12 years
ABV: 46%

Release: The Last Great Malts – Dewars

Price: $55*

Craigellachie 13 Review

Golden straw

Rich complex fruit; heavy with apples, pears and apricots combines with some honey, grassy malt and vanilla cream. Hints of cinnamon and a sugary sweetness lounge in the background until a splash of water is added and then they become more active along with notes of butterscotch and an almost swampy sulfuric earthiness. A multi-faceted and enjoyable aroma.

That same rich and complex fruit delivers here as well, but this time it comes with a charred and woody companion. Glazed honey, and a slightly nutty character remind me of honey roasted nuts with notes of burnt toffee / brûlée, malt, smoke, vanilla and cinnamon playing supporting roles. A splash of water brings out a bit more of the wood, malt and earth.

Long with big notes of fruit, woody char and vanilla that moves to malt, earth and apricots on it’s way out.

Excellent balance. I love the way the earthy and sweet notes play off of each other. A thick full body and velvety texture complete a very luscious picture.

Craigellachie is often described as having a meaty quality to it and after trying the Craigellachie 13 I’d have to agree with those folks. The thick tarry nose is a deep well of mouthwatering aromas that perfectly compliment the charred, woody and earthy fruit on the palate till it’s completely faded away on the finish.

The Craigellachie 13 is my first encounter with a Craigellachie OB and I have to say… I’m impressed. There’s just nothing not to like about this whisky and I found myself revisiting this bottle more and more after the review, which is the sign of a good whisky. Definitely recommended.

SCORE: 89/100

*Disclosure: This sample of Craigellachie 13 was graciously sent to me by the company for the purposes of this review. The views, opinions, and tasting notes are 100% my own.
Craigellachie 13 Review - Score Breakdown
  • Nose - 89
  • Palate - 89
  • Finish - 89
  • Balance, Body & Feel - 89


Craigellachie 13 is a dark and fruity malt that I find myself enjoying immensely.

Craigellachie 13 Years Label

Josh Peters

Josh Peters

I read about, think about, write about, and drink whisk(e)y. In short, it's my passion.
Josh Peters

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7 Responses to Craigellachie 13 Review

  1. […] If Glen Elgin doesn’t sound too familiar to you that’s because they don’t release a distillery bottling here in the USA and in Europe they only put out a 12yr with most of their whisky going in to the White Horse blend. For the most part, the only way to get ahold of Glen Elgin is through NDPs like Signatory, Single Cask Nation, Gordon & MacPhail, etc. The distillery itself is situated in the Speyside region and has been around since 1898. They’re also one of the few distilleries still using worm tubes to cool their fresh distillate (Craigellachie being another). […]

  2. I just heard that Craigellachie 31 was voted best single malt in the world at the London tastings. I could never afford a bottle of that age. If its reminiscent at all of the signature 13 expression… WOW. This is different. It greeted my taste buds like a Pictish army building to a full gallop on the way to the shore to face down a fleet of Norse invaders hurling flaming balls of tar soaked peat. Like dragons breath! amazing. And I bought this without knowing anything about it except that it was claimed to be “Anything but smooth!” I was seriously contemplating putting a warning reminder on the bottle for myself to not drink on an empty stomach. I was tasting charcoal and earth a day later. Brilliant!

    • Thanks for sharing Patrick. I was lucky enough to try some of the Criagellachie 31 recently and it… is… stunning. It’s everything that’s great about this kicked up by a factor of 10!


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