Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Whisky Discovery #33

Cragganmore 12 Year Old (40%, OB, bottled 2011, 70cl)
Speyside Single Malt Whisky
Circa £30

Not a full ‘tasting’ as such, more of a sampling after a lunch with my wife at The Birch in Woburn. On entering I immediately noticed a selection of single malts on display which I thought would need further investigation after lunch. 

We sat down for lunch and ordered a Guinness and was a little taken back when they told me that they didn’t have it ! So had to settle for a cider with my lunch. 

The Birch is a small family run establishment who have earned a reputation in the area for delivering excellent quality food served by friendly and attentive staff. We had never been there before, although it had been on a 'to do' list in my head for some time. 

They have  an extensive menu offering English/Continental style of dishes together with an open griddle area where you can choose from a selection of fresh steaks/fish, cooked to your preference by their chefs. Their 'surf and turf' interpretation with Duck and Crevettes was delicious.

A really nice atmosphere in the restaurant area even on the grey day we were there. Lunch was served and thoroughly enjoyed, we will be back I’m sure.  However as soon as lunch was finished I was itching to check out the whisky shelf spotted when we arrived.

I was pleasantly surprised to see a well stocked whisky shelf and although only signature brands, there were a total of twelve single malts and one blend on display that should satisfy most whisky drinkers:

Lowland:        Glenkinchie 12 YO
Highland:       Dalwhinnie 15 YO, Glenmorangie 10 YO, Oban 14 YO
Speyside:      Cragganmore 12 YO, Glenfiddich 12 YO, The Glenlivet 12 YO Macallan Fine Oak 10 YO
Islay:               Laphroaig 10 YO, Lagavulin 16 YO
Island:            Talisker 10 Year Old, Highland Park 12 Year Old
Blends           Johnnie Walker Black Label

With only the Cragganmore 12 Year Old not previously tasted, I ordered a single to sample before the coffee arrived. My only complaint was that there didn’t seem to be a suitable glass for really enjoying the nose of the whisky, and had to settle for the smallest tumbler which had a slight return camber to the glass.

The notes below are from the distillery as it really wasn’t the right conditions for savouring the whisky properly, although reading the distillery notes I agree with most of them immediately.

A sherried 12 year old single malt from Diageo's Classic Malts range, this bottling from the Cragganmore distillery represents Speyside and proffers a rich, slightly floral whisky with barley notes.

Nose:    Aromatic, floral. Heather, fruit salad, creamy texture. Smoked almonds, stemmy hay.
Palate:  Rich, honey, stone fruits, chestnuts, walnuts, almonds. Berries.
Finish:   Smoky, good length, delicate peppery spice

You can find the The Birch at Woburn by clicking this link:

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The Birch at Woburn

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