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Cragganmore 12 – Old And New Head To Head — Dramming
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Cragganmore 12 – Old And New Head To Head

by Oliver Klimek on May 9, 2015

At the Limburg Whisky Fair I had the opportunity to buy a sample of an old Gragganmore 12 Italian import bottle, probably from the 1970s. Let’s compare it to the current expression in a head to head tasting:

Cragganmore 12 Italian Import, ca. 1970s – ?? %

Colour: Bright amber
Nose: Pineapple, stewed apples, gooseberries, vanilla, light honey, hints of nutmeg.
Palate: Apples, honey, hints of pineapple, vanilla, almost no spices but a faint floral touch.
Finish: Medium long, fruity and mild.
Overall: A very subtle whisky that demands your attention. On first sip it appears boring but over time you notice hidden aromas. Still it is not very memorable.

Rating: 81/100

Cragganmore 12 Current Bottling – 40 %

Colour: Medium amber
Nose: Pineapple, banana, vanilla, hints of coconut, and nutmeg, needs a bit of time.
Palate: Apples, hints of pineapple and honey, vanilla, nutmeg, hints of pepper.
Finish: Rather long, fruity and slightly spicy.
Overall: The nose of this is very pleasant but it needs time to develop. The palate is nice but feels a bit generic. A decent daily dram.

Rating: 82/100


The two whiskies noticeably share the same DNA but are also noticeably different. The old version has a bit more complexity than the current Cragganmore 12 but finish and a slightly watery mouthfeel are mild disappointments. In a way the old expression is a bit more interesting but overall I like the modern bottling a tad better. There are many examples where modern bottlings are just a shadow of the past. But this comparison shows that older botlings are not necessarily better than their modern counterparts. The old base spirit appears to be superior but the modern cask managment gives today’s Cragganmore 12 the edge over the old bottling.

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