Spey River- Like many people, I am a dog lover, and yes this is a whisky review. Now we all know mixed breeds can be the most loyal and smartest beasts….but not always. Our subject malt is a mixed breed, 2 perfectly fine things converged here, Speyside single malt and sherry barrel aging. The nose is faint with slightly sweet cake notes and the color is a rich irish setter red. The caramel is thick and tasty but little else is present in terms of complexity. There is a splash of generic fruit in the taste and maybe some lingering spice. The finish is fleeting and at 80 proof it is a a bit wimpy. I tried the dram with a few drops of water and it just faded away. The lack of real character in the label is a harbinger of terminal blandness …….When breeders , or distillers, mix the gene pool for profit not quality the hybrid is kinda like a labradoodle , neither the labradors strength and loyalty, nor the poodles intelligence shine through. This single malt disappoints on most scales, you can drink it , but unlike your pooch, it won’t put a smile on your face. It barks a weak 6 on the snob-o-meter.
Craigellachie 13- Some consumers are easily bamboozled by a great looking package. Not us however, because we are very sophisticated…….This Speyside whisky looks and smells like a big buck single malt, but that can be a bit deceiving. The ultra swanky label design is beautiful, retro, and informational, a total home run. At 13 years old, I have expectations of mellow smoothness, don’t you? However, this teenager is sharp with alcohol, as expected at 92 proof, but with a heady whiff of peat. Our pale golden malt has a subtle taste of tropical fruit and a real dollop of pepper , quite nice. I enjoyed the smoke and creamy vanilla, but both had serious edges, smooth it’s not. Wacky name, cool look, groovy whisky. Rated a solid 7, drinkable but doesn’t quite live up to the look.