Craigellachie

In the heart of the Speyside near the little town of Craigellachie/Banffshire lies a distillery that was founded in 1891 at the peak of the whisky boom and survived until today. Craigellachie Distillery is situated on a hill and overlooks the town.The difficult Gaelic name means “Rocky Hill” and is pronounced Krai-GELLacky.

Information about the Distillery
119 Bottles
Scotland, Speyside
-3.184519 57.488438
Active
Bacardi
2 x 28,185 l
Pear
2 x 28,185 l
Normal
8 x 45,000 l
9 t
1891
4,100,000 l
http://www.craigellachie.com
Average tasting notes Tasting Notes
Calculated from 85 Tasting Notes
i
Nosing
Fruit:
Sweet:
Zitrus:
Sherry:
Lemon:
Herbs:
Caramel:
Oak:
Spices:
Dried Fruit:
Malt:
Peat Smoke:
Orange:
Honey:
Nuts:
Alcohol:
Plum:
Floral:
Vanilla:
Apple:
Grape:
Raisin:
Heather:
Pear:
Pineapple:
Banana:
Barley:
Pepper:
Oil:
Fig:
Chili:
Berries:
Chocolate:
Grass:
Walnut:
Hay:
Leather:
Tobacco:
Green Apple:
Coconut:
Hazelnut:
Wheat:
Ginger:
Peach:
Cinnamon:
Kiwi:
Tropical Fruit:
Mint:
Herb:
Tasting
Fruit:
Spices:
Sweet:
Sherry:
Oak:
Pepper:
Dried Fruit:
Caramel:
Fig:
Chili:
Nuts:
Malt:
Peat Smoke:
Oil:
Pear:
Cinnamon:
Vanilla:
Honey:
Alcohol:
Apple:
Herbs:
Grape:
Orange:
Heather:
Leather:
Herb:
Zitrus:
Chocolate:
Banana:
Clove:
Berries:
Lemon:
Walnut:
Hay:
Tobacco:
Ginger:
Peach:
Finish
Spices:
Sweet:
Oak:
Fruit:
Malt:
Chili:
Sherry:
Nuts:
Pepper:
Cinnamon:
Dried Fruit:
Chocolate:
Fig:
Cake:
Zitrus:
Lemon:
Coffee:
Peat Smoke:
Apple:
Banana:
Raisin:
Heather:
Barley:
Medicinal Smoke:
Wheat:
Ginger:
Peach:
Grapefruit:
Honey:
Herbs:
Herb:
Details about the Distillery

The Whisky

Craigellachie Distillery always has been a guarantor for malt whisky that ensures the high quality of Dewar’s blended whiskies. The Craigellachie whisky is not very well-known yet because for a long time it has only been used for Blends like The White Horse. Some independent bottlers had Craigellachie in their program from time to time, but a 14 year old Craigellachie released in 2004 was the only original single malt release until 2014. Since then we have a 13, a 17 and a 23 year old Craigellachie Single Malt Whisky available. Craigellachie whisky presents in a sweet, voluminous and oily style and a hint of a dead match.
The Craigellachie 13 year old is permeated with nice aromas of citrus, mandarin and orange. A sweet and a bit dry palate brings up fig and a hint of cinnamon. A long and clear finish preserves the citrus notes.
With the 17 year old Craigellachie you get some caramel and fruity notes that are more voluminous and rich
If you like strong and clear notes of fig, pear and bergamot you should try the Craigellachie 23 year old. The soft and floral notes that reach your nose develop to a complex and oily aroma that ends up in a long-lasting liqueur-like finish 

View of the Craigellachie Distillery.

Production

Craigellachie can be called a really large distillery. Production volume in 2015 was about 4.1 million liters. As mentioned before, the majority will go into the blends of John Dewar & Sons.
Big malt silos store the malt for Craigellachie that comes from Glenesk Maltings in Montrose. It’s made there in a special kiln there that is oil fired to prevent a special sulphuric note. This malt for Craigellachie is hold apart from the other produced malt at Glenesk.
The water for whisky production at Craigellachie is taken from a spring called Blue Hill in the Little Conval Hills. It is impounded by a 12 meter dam to ensure a regular supply.

The tanker filling plant of the Craigellachie Distillery.

The Mashing

When the malt passed the Richard Sizer mill that can process 10 tonnes per grind in 2.5 hours it waits in two grist bins to be mashed. The full lauter mashtun, manufactured by Steinecker, is housed in the old kiln with its impressing wooden beaming. There’s little space around the big mashtun that replaced the old iron one in 2001. Craigellachie did 21 washes per week in 2015

The Fermentation

The yeast is used at Craigellachie. To speed up the total fermentation process the 192 liters of yeast are put in the 4.500 liters yeast tank and pre-ferment there. From this tank it is then added to the sweet water that is pumped into the fermenters: 8 wooden wash backs are used for fermentation at Craigellachie. They are made of larch and host the fermenting beer for about 55-65 hours.

The Pot Stills and Worm Tubs

The fermented wash is pumped into the two wash stills that are joined by two spirit stills. In the beginning there had only been one pair of stills here. The stills were doubled during a reconstruction at 1964.
The still room is a very impressing one with a big glazed front to look out – or to look into the still room from outside if you pass the distillery.
To cool down the alcohol vapors after distillation Craigellachie uses traditional worm tubs as only few distilleries still do. When the old iron tubs were removed in 2014 and tubs of stainless steel were installed the old copper worms were moved and still do their good job at Craigellachie Distillery.

The Pot Stills of the Craigellachie Distillery.

The History

The foundation of Craigellachie Distillery was a joint project of Peter Mackie and Alexander Edward. Mackie’s family already owned Lagavulin at that time which couldn’t satisfy the demand for single malt whisky to produce the blend White Horse. Edward‘s family also worked in the whisky business and owned the Benrinnes Distillery at that time.
They started to build Craigellachie at 1891 when the whisky boom was at its peak. Architect was the famous Charles Doig from Elgin. Official sources tell us that whisky production at Craigellachie only begun in 1898 although there are some earlier tasting notes from Alfred Barnard who visited Craigellachie in 1893/94. In 1898 the whisky boom was over and production at Craigellachie was not very high. But Peter Mackie was a forward-looking businessman and the distillery survived. In 1916 Alexander Edward left and Mackie took over Craigellachie on his own and formed White Horse Distillers.
In 1925 the Distillery Company Limited was formed by John Walker & Co, James Buchanan & Co. and John Dewar & Sons and two years later they bought White Horse Distillers.
In 1930 DCL was transferred to DCL. In 1987 they merged with Arthur Bell and Sons to become United Distillers. They sold Craigellachie together with Aberfeldy, Brackla, Aultmore and the John Dewar and Sons to Bacardi in 1998.
Although there were ups and downs and some short terms of closings the Craigellachie Distillery never had to experience a longer period of being mothballed. 

Visitor Center

There is no visitor center at Craigellachie which would surely be much-frequented: The distillery lies close to some famous whisky-touristic spots as the Speyside Cooperage, the famous Craigellachie Hotel with one of the best whisky bars in the world, Aberlour Distillery, Glenfiddich, Glen Grant or Macallan, just to name some. 

Chronological rating history

User Notes about the Distillery

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