Most of you will, no doubt, have heard of Edradour. It is, to my knowledge, Scotland’s smallest distillery, and it uses the smallest stills as well. Located in Pitlochry, they produce a range of absolutely beautiful single malt whiskies. I read somewhere – unfortunately I can’t remember where – that Edradour used to be one of seven distilleries operating in Perthshire, but unfortunately none of the other six are running today. In memory of days gone, Edradour have decided to name their heavily peated series – Ballechin – after one of the other six distilleries that was active in the region between 1810 and 1927.
I recently had the pleasure of sampling the Ballechin Burgundy Matured series, which I’m sorry to say seems to be out of stock with most retailers, and can report that it certainly did not disappoint in terms of peat! As soon as the bartender opened the bottle his face looked as though a fireman had just jumped out and slapped him across the face with a dusty glove; a promising start indeed. Even before the glass reached my nose I could pick up a heavy combination of smoked peat, fresh campfire smoke, and dark, medicinal, licorice. Once my nose got accustomed to the smoky veil that surrounds the whisky, I began to pick up a sweet undertone of not quite ripe fruit, and… Molasses? I’m not quite sure.
With such an inviting nose it wasn’t long until I had my first taste, and rather unsurprisingly the very first thing that came to mind as the first intense drop hit my palate was – strawberries! Oh no, wait, no, misread my notes there – smoke! That very same veil of smoke that tried to hide the sweet unripe fruits from my nose was working its magic on my palate, surrounding it like a dark fog sent straight from the heavens above. Underneath it was something I had not at all expected, however. A combination of (lightly) honey glazed cured meat, and fennel.
All in all, then, this is a whisky that could only ever be described as smoky and savory – a near-perfect winter warmer, in other words. If you can get your hands on one, I wouldn’t think twice.
Color: I forgot to take a note of this! But I seem to remember it being a dark caramel – correct me if I’m wrong.
Nose: Heavy, smoked peat, fresh wooden smoke, medicinal liquorice, molasses (unsure).
Taste: Dark smoky peat, fennel, lightly honey glazed cured meat.
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