Croftengea 15 Years Old M.Wigman They Inspired Edition No.4 Catherine the Great 49.3% 2005
€ 119,25 (in Vat)
|Bottler||Michiel Wigman Dutch Whisky Connection|
|Serie||They Inspired Catherine the Great|
Tasting Notes Courtesy of Angus MacRailds, pints by BOW:
Colour: white wine
Nose: the earthiness of the farmyard mingling with softer notes of wet chalk, freshly laundered fabrics, ink, wool and carbon paper. Also some lemon-scented goat cheese and more mineral aspects such as bath salts and crushed seashells. It also gets rather petrolic and displays a rising, grassy smokiness over time. Water shifts things towards brine, lemon juice, oyster sauce and things like smoked olive oil.
Palate: bags of ointment, mineral oils, pickling juices, natural tar, antiseptic and these rather Mezcal-esque touches that manifest as earthy medicines and a sort of greasy herbaceous aspect. Wonderfully green, lively, smoky and medical with some pure seawater in the mix. Water brings us full circle back this very particular earthy farmyard quality from the initial nose. Lots of sooty, muddy, earthy, peppery and oily fatness in the mouth. A wonderfully textural dram.
Finish: The peat lingers for a long time leaving in its wake a lot of medical qualities, green pepper, brine and a gentle, rather crisp smokiness.
Comments: A slightly schizophrenic wee peat monster that would have you feeling at times that you’re wandering farmlands in heart of the highlands, then the next moment on the south shore of Islay, until you wind up in a particular aromatic hospital corridor. Diverse and extremely fun while also being deceptively complex.
Michiel Wigman, for those of you that don’t know the man, is a very famous Dutch whisky collector. He’s been one of the founders of ‘Dutch Whisky Connection‘ and is lovingly known as ‘Mr. Springbank’ to whisky fanatics across the globe.
If you’ve ever been to a whisky festival in The Netherlands or Germany, you’ve probably seen his stand filled to the brim with the mose fantastic old bottles, varying from a few Euro per centiliter, to sometimes five tenners for a drop of liquid gold.
Every time my and my in-laws go the the Hielander Whisky Festival in Alkmaar, we always agree to ‘end up’ at his stand. However, over the years, ending up has changed from ‘the last half hour’ to at least an hour and a half.
Anyway, it’s safe to say I know to trust the man and his palate. Only one dram of the dozens and dozens I’ve bought from him was disappointing (an Old Guns blend from the 1970s).
One thing changed in early 2020, though: There suddenly were bottlings of casks selected by Michiel Wigman. Of course, I had already spent all my money on random stuff I now don’t even remember, so it had to be a bottle-share. By the time I had arranged that, the ‘Secret Highland’ had sold out and I only got a sizeable share of the Teaninich 19.
I didn’t want to miss out on future releases, so I signed up for the participation programme, and last week two new bottles were delivered: A ‘Secret Speyside’ from 1993, and this 15 year old Croftengea. Peated Loch Lomond, from someone like Michiel Wigman. It’s short to say I was surprised. My experiences with anything from Loch Lomond (except a few Inchmurrins, also bottled by friends) has been quite the let down. Often the spirit is watery without much flavor to it.
And now, the man with, maybe, the palate I respect most, selects a cask from exactly that distillery. Might my prejudice be wrong?
The peat is very timid for a 15 year old, heavily peated whisky, with mostly earthy aromas. Briny, dried sea weed, a beach bonfire. There’s a hint of goat’s cheese, some unfamiliar spiciness and star fruit. Rather crisp, with hay and menthol.
The palate is gentle, and sits just under 50% (my sweet spot, I think). There’s a hint of vanilla, with earthy peat and some coastal flavors behind it. A slightly cheese like flavor again, not unlike pecorino. That sharpness, with quite a lot of salinity. Eel grass, sand. Quite beach-y.
The finish is slightly more highland like, with more oak and more fiery peat. Bonfire and a hint of charcoal. Barley ears, white oak and nice, salty smoke.
I didn’t really know what to expect, but I think this is a whisky that tastes a bit more mature than I expected. It’s not unlike 18-ish year old Talisker in style, and since that’s something I quite like, I’m a happy camper.
It’s quite complex, with the combination of coastal style with highland influences (or the other way around). Very enjoyable indeed! And a good pick by Mr. Wigman!
I’m very much looking forward to what’s to come!