Wanna Try A 51-Year-Old Whisky? Craigellachie Makes Its Way To Cape Town

Craigellachie 51-year-old whisky

It’s no secret that I love whisky. I mean, I don’t just like it. I love, love, love it.  It all goes back to when I started acting, needed a survival job, and became a whisky girl. Being me and loving research, I requested we have proper in-depth whisky training. And that is when my love affair began. Because whisky isn’t just an alcoholic beverage. No, it is a story, a heritage, an idea, it has character and a personality, and I find that very, very attractive.

Meeting Craigellachie

Whenever there is an opportunity to explore a whisky that I haven’t ‘met’ before, I get excited. That is what I felt when I heard about Craigellachie making its way to SA. But before I even get to that, let’s talk about the name.

Scottish whiskies can be hard to pronounce, and when I first read this name it sounded a bit like “Krachhhalchhe” in my head. Not very sexy at all. So I did some research and came across a nifty little pronunciation story. Turns out CRAIG met ELLA and gave her the KEY to his heart. Craig-Ella-Key. Craigellachie. Cool. Pronunciation aced!

What It Is

Now let’s talk Craigellachie whisky. It’s a Scottish single malt from Speyside, but saying it’s a typical Speyside whisky is far from true. Craigellachie prides itself on being the bad boy of Speyside and doing things just a little bit different.

Whisky lovers will know that, in the process of making a single malt in Scotland, the germinated barley, i.e. the malt, is dried over a peat fire, which, of course, stops the germination and infuses that peaty flavour into the malt.

Craigellachie dries its malt over an oil fire instead, which adds a heavier, and as they refer to it, a more muscular, character to the whisky.

Craigellachie whisky

13 and 17 and Something Else

Craigellachie has been distilling whisky since 1891, but it is only now making its way to SA. Why, I have no idea, because it is really good. Of their entire range, only two whiskies will be available here. Well, in a way, three, but more about that later.

The 13-year-old Craigellachie Single Malt is divine, with aromas of toasted marshmallow and roasted pineapple lingering on the palette. The 17-year-old Single Malt is even better, with warm hints of vanilla and, again, that touch of pineapple that makes it unique and different. It goes without saying that Craigellachie is non-chill filtered (always better) and free of any colourants and additives.

The 51-Year-Old Craigellachie Legend

As good as the 13- and 17-year-old Craigellachie Single Malts are, they cannot compare to the following. On the 22nd of December 1962, whisky was barrelled and forgotten about. For 51 years, this single malt quietly aged in oak, paying its fair share to the angels. (For non-whisky knowers, this is the portion of the whisky that evaporates. The older the whisky, the more evaporates, and the bigger the angels’ share is.)

Until, finally, in 2014, this barrel was discovered, with enough whisky left over for just 51 bottles. And so Craigellachie bottled it but decided to do things a little differently. Instead of selling these bottles, they wanted to share them with whisky lovers all over the world, dram by dram, until there was none left.

this is Craigellachie whisky

The Pop-Up Bar 51

Enter the Craigellachie Pop Up Bar 51: an exclusive pop-up event where guests can try the 13-year-old, then the 17-year, and, finally, experience the magic of the 51-year-old Craigellachie Single Malt Whisky.

And now, here is the thing: Tickets cannot be bought for this. You have to win them. In the last year, Craigellachie has hosted this pop-up bar in London, New York, and Australia. And now, with the last remaining bottles, they are making their way to South Africa.

On 20 and 21 November, they’ll be at the Whisky Brother Bar in Johannesburg. And on 25 and 26 November, they’ll be at The Athletic Club and Social in Cape Town. Here, the last of these rare 51-year-old Single Malts will be consumed.

Stand A Chance To Win

And to stand a chance of winning an entry to the Pop Up Bar 51 and enjoying this once-in-a-lifetime whisky, you will have to enter at www.craigellachie.com.

I wouldn’t be writing this article if I hadn’t tried the whiskies. I enjoyed both the 13- and 17-year-olds. And I fell in love with the 51-year-old. The fact that I will never have it again breaks my heart. But I count myself lucky to have had a dram from bottle number 32. Thank you, Craigellachie, for sharing with me.

Enjoy Craigellachie Whisky

The Craigellachie 13-year-old Single Malt will retail in South Africa for around R1 245 and the 17-year-old for about R2 135. For details about the Pop-Up Bar 51 event and to enter, please visit www.craigellachie.com.

Written by Sabine Palfi
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Article Date: October 2019

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