The Cragganmore name was taken from the nearby hill, whose green stone was used for the distillery, (‘Craggan Mor’). The distillery was founded in 1869 by John Smith, who is said to have been the most experienced distiller of his day. He had been manager of Macallan, Glenlivet and Wishaw distilleries, and was lease-holder of Glenfarclas Distillery when he persuaded his landlord, Sir George Macpherson-Grant, to lease him the land to build a new distillery at Ballindalloch beside the Strathspey railway line.
Cragganmore was the first distillery to be deliberately sited to take advantage of the railway line and a private siding was built to accommodate distillery traffic. John Smith was a great railway enthusiast, but since he weighed 22 stones (140kg) and was too wide to enter a railway carriage, he was obliged to travel in the Guard’s van.
He died in 1886 leaving the business to his son Gordon, who largely rebuilt the distillery in 1901. So it exists in the form we know today, though in keeping with tradition, the two pairs of flat-top stills (designed by John Smith himself), have been preserved throughout. Despite further changes of ownership and two world wars, Cragganmore has continued to produce a complex, highly prized single malt whisky.
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700ml, 40.0% abv, Scotland, SpeysideEach Distillers Edition expression undergoes a second (or ‘double’) maturation in casks that have previously held a fortified wine. The complexity of Cragganmore prescribes an out of the ordinary choice for a second cask finish. However, port-wine casks provide the perfectly harmonious partner. Sweet and deeply fruity oak-smoked malt; a long, dry finish. "The Cragganmore has been finished in a ruby port wood cask, and the aroma is much fruitier than usual. This fruity character lingers on to the fuller-bodied palate, where oranges and port can be detected. It is notably less dry than the 'house' style, though ultimately the finish does dry considerably in characteristic Cragganmore fashion."
- *Current stock is distilled 2004, bottled 2016.