Dec 222014

mSecret Spirits Advent Calendar Day 21 – December 21st116

1989 “Evergreen Forrest” Cragganmore 23 y.o. (Wemyss Malts)

Cask #2853 Bourbon Hogshead

46% abv

Score:  88/100


A whisky from the Secret Spirits Advent Calendar First Edition.

Hearkening back to Day 3 of our little advent journey together, you may recall we tackled a malt dubbed “Samaroli Spey”.  It just so happened that that one was actually a single cask from the Cragganmore distillery.  It was a 21 year old malt matured in ‘American Oak’ (as per the label).  I’ll assume that ‘American Oak’ reference was to an ex-bourbon cask.  This one says ‘Bourbon Hogshead’.  A hoggy – if you’re not in the know – is just a rebuilt bourbon barrel with a few extra staves added in to increase capacity.  In effect what that means is that we have similar barrel treatments.  Further…we have malts that are only 1% apart in terms of abv and 2 years apart in terms of bottling age.  And are they similar?  Well…not really.  Both do carry a lovely fresh grapefruit note I’m rather taken with though.

I liked that first dram a lot.  I like this one a little bit less, but it’s still in the high 80s when it comes to throwing a mark at it.

As to the “Evergreen Forrest” (sic?) appellation levied at this one?  Hmmm…not sure.  There’s a little bit of clean wood and a wee touch of Pine Sol cleaning product, but far from what I’d consider overly evergreen.  Maybe that’s just me.

Nose:  Grapefruit, orange and a bucket of citrus.  Hay and wild grass/prairie flower smells.  Orange and yellow lollies and orange Dino-sour candies.  Fresh scones.  Grapes.  Very clean woods, lemon furniture polish and Pine Sol.

Palate:  Charred woods.  Apple.  Sauvignon blanc.  Bruleed orange.  This had to have been matured in very active wood.  Slightly tannic and drying.  Like the effect of fruit skins.  Long linger.

Thoughts:  Not a ton of character but a decent showing for Cragganmore nevertheless.  There is a slight wine-iness about this one.

Bonus:  My mate, Jonathan, and I are gonna blog on these drams side by side through the season.  Here’s a link to his notes on the same whisky at


– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

 Posted by at 9:59 pm

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