Thanks to /u/RaunchyJowls & /u/Orehnmadgib for pouring me these samples.
I recently reviewed quite a few Edradour. I felt I hadn’t properly reviewed the tiny distillery, so I got some friends to pour some samples for me. And then some more samples. And then maybe I reviewed too many Edradours (if there is such a thing). So I took a break, had some other distilleries. You know, share the wealth of my liver (such wealth, much organ).
Then I realized that I had two Ballechins. What does that have to do with Edradour? I’m glad you asked, as it gives me more time to ramble. Edradour makes one-quarter of their whisky peated per year. In order to keep it separated, as we were all taught by The Offspring in the 90s, they call it Ballechin.
And don’t think that they are lightly peating this either. This is full on 50ppm peating their doing out there. It may be the smallest dog in the Scotch fight, but it’s surely not pulling punches. Or bites if I’m beating yet another metaphor to death.
I’ve never reviewed a Ballechin. So I have two to try today: Let’s see how they taste, shall we?
Edradour Ballechin 10
Colour: 5Y 9/8
Nose: Milk chocolate, vegetal peat, cinnamon, mineral
Immediate chocolate on the nose. Which I love. Normally have to go hunting for that in older drams of costs inflated to get it. Here’s it’s a bit creamier/milkier. Make your own jokes there.
That said, there’s this earthy, Highland peat vegetal character that takes over, sets up shop, and punches your dog. Maybe not the last one, but it’s out of sorts a bit. Or it’s my bias after delivering peat moss as a child. YMMV.
Taste: Chocolate, raisin, pear, caramel, ginger
Again, love the chocolate. And while the nose had that odd-man-out earth bomb, the taste is all things I’ve had with chocolate before.
It’s not going to blow your mind. What this is is a standard taste profile with some chocolate added to it, which I’m enjoying.
Finish: Raisin, cinnamon, pear, musty, milk chocolate
See what I said above? This is basically it again. Chocolate added to a raisin and pear standard profile.
Where it differs is the chocolate takes quite a while to come out. And it’s behind some musty aspects. That may bug some people.
Conclusion: On the one hand, this is a chocolatey dram. That alone will sell some people on it. If you like chocolate, then go for this one. Simple as pie. It’s your after-dinner-drink.
If you’re looking for a new 10-year peat bomb that punches above it’s (very nice) abv? No. The nose is rough, the taste never really goes into anything beyond sugar and spice, and the finish nearly loses the point. This is a good entry, and better if you don’t like salt in your peated whisky.
Edradour Ballechin Discovery Series #7
Price: N/A at the LCBO
Cask Type: Bordeaux Hogsheads
Number of bottles: 6000
Colour: 10YR 5/8
Nose: Uncooked peach pie, coal, raspberry, cocoa
Lighter nose. Takes some time, however, the standard red wine influence is here. That sweetened fruit mixed with earth. Here it’s taking some of that chocolate and adding bitter. Or taking away the fat, if we’re still talking about the chocolate and being exact.
Give this some time for the nose.
Taste: Nectarine, cocoa, butter, lime, caramel
Closer to Edradour than the one Ballechin I’ve had. More of that stone fruit and lime element, as well as butter.
If the nose was “Oh, they used a red wine cask”, then the taste has thrown away that sentiment.
Finish: Lemon-lime soda, cocoa, cranberry, light hops
Sprite-y to start then gives back that chocolate tastiness that we were hoping for. It also has this slight floral and cranberry, I-just-lit-a-candle-in-the-bathroom-smell-slash-taste to it.
Don’t know if I like that, frankly.
Conclusion: An interesting idea. In all honesty, this whisky works great on aperitif. Red wine gives more bitterness and red fruits to balance out the chocolate of the Ballechin.
In practice, though they didn’t get along as well as they could have. I found the nose light and dominated by the red wine. The taste felt like their unpeated malt. And the finish was floral and disjoint from the rest of the whisky.
I wanted more? Or I think this could have been good and didn’t work out. I certainly didn’t get any rough parts to it. A bit of disjoint aspects were all I could really complain about. Or a hope for more peat influence. None the less, maybe next time.
Scotch review #981-982, Highland review #162-163, Whisky Network review #1537-1538
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