Google Some of Edradour's Ballechin

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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

June 1, 2020


Some of Edradour’s Ballechin

I find it fascinating that Edradour and its offspring the peated Ballechin became quasi-cult after just, what, fifteen years of ‘new’ ownership? Having said that, people tend to forget that in the 1950s/1960s, Edradour’s new filings were the most expensive of them all Scotch single malts. Not that there were vast differences at that time, having said that, but still… Let’s try three Ballechins today, and later in the week or next week, quite a large bag of punchy Edradours…

Ballechin 12 yo 2007/2019 (60.2%, Signatory Vintage for Whisky Live Singapore, cask #901, 444 bottles)

Ballechin 12 yo 2007/2019 (60.2%, Signatory Vintage for Whisky Live Singapore, cask #901, 444 bottles) Four stars and a half
Mind you, this baby was finished for two years in an ex-Karuizawa 1965 cask, knowing that 1965 was the year the State of Singapore was founded. Colour: gold. Nose: I have to say it is extremely hard to take Singapore and its magnificent Chinese and Indian cuisines out of your head when trying this, especially since my brother used to live over there. No need to tell you that we checked quite a few excellent restaurants and street food together. But those were the eighties… Anyway, I’m finding some pretty stove-y smoke, so rather coal, also curry indeed, touches of mashed Jerusalem artichokes (which can be splendid), and a leather-ginger combo that’s well balanced in this case. But at 60%, water may change all this a lot… With water: a smoky and very complex herbal liqueur, I would say. Just a whiff of bicycle inner tube. Mouth (neat): hugely smoked and peppery chlorophyll-like, very strong. As if someone would have redistilled some Jägermeister (and consequently put all the unnecessary sugar aside). Not quite whisky for Chuck Norris but it does stun you a bit when neat, I have to say. With water: this meaty/gamy side that’s pretty Edradour, as well as the trademark touch of ‘good’ soap (nothing to do with Edradour of old). Grapefruits and grey pepper add an excellent sharpish zestiness. Finish: pretty long, while I suppose it’s at this point that you do feel the old Karuizawa cask’s complex wooden spiciness, from tobaccos to old earthy pu-her tea plus many tiny spices. Cloves for sure. Lemony aftertaste. Comments: a big beast from the east, as they say. Needs both your attention and your best pipette, and then really delivers.
SGP:376 - 88 points.

Ballechin 14 yo 2005/2020 (55%, WhiskySponge, refill sherry hogshead, 302 bottles)

Ballechin 14 yo 2005/2020 (55%, WhiskySponge, refill sherry hogshead, 302 bottles) Four stars and a half
I could already try one or three Whisky Sponge bottlings and couldn’t help but notice that there was some kind of crypto-anarchistic side to all of them. Rumour has it that the inenarrable Sponge actually stumbled upon an old hidden stock of English flame-thrower fuel while hiking in the Grampians, which he consequently decided to bottle while using Distillery names more or less at random. For example, he told us on the phone that he had chosen ‘Ballechin’ just because there’s ‘ball’ in that name. I must admit the whole thing seems strangely odd to me and that this series bears within it some potentially concerning implications. But there, let’s do our duty… Colour: deeper gold. Nose: new leather, old cellar and mango jam. Then ham baked in pineapple sauce, candied quince, pink pepper, fresh walnuts and a new pack of Camels. I must admit, it’s rather fantastic, but I’m sure that’s only pure luck. Come on, mango jam in Ballechin… With water: gets very gamey, this is almost high grouse served with pumpkin velouté, mango chutney and cranberry sauce. Add exhaust fumes, perhaps. Mouth (neat): it’s a little, cough, cough, a little bit strong, but chocolate and mirabelle eau-de-vie do work in real life too. Smoked chocolate, imagine the utter hit! With water: all pretty good, quite miraculously, although rather dirtier now that water’s been added (how strange, I agree). Coal dust, bitter chocolate, very black tea, it’s all pretty black indeed. There’s even ‘chewing a Toscano cigar’ and ‘getting a tiny bit of shampoo in your mouth while taking a shower’. Finish: long, with some leather and ginger, more coal dust and wee bits of rubber, then bitter orange marmalade and some ham and liquorice in the aftertaste. Comments: seriously, careful with your pipette, this fuel changes dramatically depending on the amount of water you’re adding. I’m sure this is illegal anyway, wondering how long it will take before Boris Johnson takes action.
SGP:565 - 88 points.

And now the darkest of them all…

Ballechin 15 yo 2003/2019 (55%, The Whisky Exchange, refill sherry butt, cask #204, 482 bottles)

Ballechin 15 yo 2003/2019 (55%, OB, The Whisky Exchange, refill sherry butt, cask #204, 482 bottles) Four stars and a half
Colour: deep dark amber. Nose: sherry-dominated, that is to say shock-full of black raisins, lapsang souchong and the blackest chocolate ever. A tad BBQ-y too. With water: varnish, acetone, soy sauce, umami and miso, peanut butter, new leather jacket in a souk, and perhaps a wee touch of ammonia. This one is quite something, you guessed it. Mouth (neat): beef stock, old rancio, crude cocoa, heavy liquorice and walnut stain (which no one should ever drink, we agree here). With water: oh honey! I mean, there’s a lot of honey coming out once water’s been added! Strong honey, such as chestnut, which is one of my favourite honeys. Single-varietal honeys can be vastly different! Finish: long, this time on glazed chestnuts and, indeed chestnut honey. Perhaps the first time I’m trying a whisky that’s this much on chestnut honey. Comments: love all these very adventurous and extremely singular sherried Ballechins just the same. There’s no proper benchmark available anyway.
SGP:556 - 88 points.

We had good fun with those Ballechins!

More tasting notesCheck the index of all Ballechin malts we've tasted so far


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