Given that my dram the day before yesterday was Cragganmore Distiller's Edition, which was finished in ex-Port barrels, it seems reasonable to have another drink of the regular distillery bottling, the 12 year old, and see how it compares to the other.
It's worth pointing out that although the 12 year old bottling isn't finished in Sherry, Port, Rum, Madeira, Burgundy, or Sauternes barrels, it is not unacquainted with Sherry. I couldn't find any reference to Cragganmore's wood policy in any of the places that I looked, but I would bet money that at least some of the constituents in the final Cragganmore blend were aged in ex-Sherry butts. There is a certain nutty sweetness to this whisky that indicates this. The sherry isn't as pronounced as it is in an honest-to-goodness Sherried malt like Macallan, but it's there. Malty graininess comes through loud and clear too, though. It's fresh and clean and about as refreshing as something that's 40% alcohol can possibly be. The Distiller's Edition, on the other hand, is thick, heavy, and very sweet. There's not much malt there; it's all chocolate and dark fruit. It's wonderful in its own way, but it's a very different product. It just demonstrates one more time that just knowing which distillery a particular whisky comes from is not sufficient to be able to predict what it will taste like. I'm sure that professional tasters would be able to tell that both of these were from the same distillery without seeing the label. If I hadn't known, I doubt that I would have been able to.