Glencraig 1970/1996 (40%, Gordon & MacPhail, Connoisseurs Choice, Map label, IF/CCC)

Ahhh, yes, Gordon & MacPhail never cease to amaze me! Next up is this Glencraig 1970/1996 (40%, G&M, Connoisseurs Choice, Map Label, IF/CCC), but now it turns out that the exact same bottle with the exact same code (IF/CCC) was also released with the Old Map label too. Why? Can we conclude from this that 1996 was the year the labels got changed?

Glencraig is the little sister of Glenburgie. Glencraig was the name of the whisky that was distilled from 1956 untill 1981 in a pair of Lomond Stills at the Glenburgie distillery. Another example of a true Lomond pair of stills existed at Miltonduff, where the subsequent whisky was named Mosstowie. Mosstowie was made between 1964 and 1981. A tad different was the case at Inverleven, where only the spirit still was of the Lomond type.

Color: Full Gold

Nose: Grainy. Apples. Every component from apple. Compote and waxy apple skin. Smells a bit thin. Did they reduce this too much? Very elegant wood shines through. Dusty vanilla, almost like smelling airborne powdered vanilla. Slight hints of orange juice. Creamy and some hard candy.

Taste: Wood is the main marker, but not bad. Sweet and fruity with liquorice. Actually the spiciness from the wood carries it. The grainy element is here too. This could have been a very old blend. Hints of french cheese, a Camembert. Funky, I love this cheesy element in this Whisky! Slightly warming. Given some time to breathe the whole gets more sweet. Still the wood stays with its licquorice element. Finish isn’t even bad. It stays longer than expected.

Yes, reduced too much. It is in places weak and watery, and it seems to me, that some areas of the taste got subdued a bit, wich affected the balance. Just let it breathe for a while in your glass and you will be rewarded. This is actually better than we think. Give it some time.

Points: 86

Dallas Dhu 1971/1994 (40%, Gordon & MacPhail, Connoisseurs Choice, Old Map label, ID/H)

Again a distillery that was founded in the Pattison crash year of 1898. Building was finished one year later and the first spirit that came off the still was on the 3rd of june 1899. It’s history is like many other distilleries. Closures during both world wars, and of course a big fire on the 9th of April 1939. The last day spirit came off the stills was the 16th of March 1983. 1983, a dark year when a lot of distilleries were closed. In 1986 the distillery was sold to Historic Scotland who run the place as a museum now.

Color: Full Gold

Nose: Fruity and sweet. Lightly woody. Fresh and a bit rural. Distant farmyness. Wet grasslands. Wet trees. That sort of thing. Hard powdered candy with some liquorice. Woody vanilla ice cream. Smoked bacon with cardboard and almonds.

Taste: Sweet and sherried. Cardboard in here too. There also seems to be some smoke in here. Watery vanilla ice cream. Some sourness of the wood is in the finish and later on some bitterness too. Nothing to worry about.

It’s very easy drinkable. But for me this is an example of those G&M’s from the past where the whisky didn’t stand the reduction to 40%. Also I find that the caramel coloring changed the original whisky considerably. Fortunately G&M know their market and don’t reduce their whiskies that much. Don’t know about the coloring though…

In the past I hated these Map labeled Connoisseurs whiskies and in fact I believe I don’t own even one. For me they got reduced too much and some are that much colored, that the caramel coloring changes the character of the whisky. The industry made you believe that it doesn’t alter the whisky, but having done some tests, it certainly does. It brings some sort of roundness and balance you get from most blends and it makes all of those Connoisseurs Choice Whiskies a bit similar in taste and definitively similar in color. Still the old Dallas Dhu that’s in here shines through.

Points: 86

Again Muchos Grazias to Nico for this sample.