So Edradour. Small distillery, releases whisky that’s typically on the younger side, but also cask strength and uses some interesting casks outside of just bourbon or wine.
If you can’t tell from that over-the-top delivery, I’m middle-of-the-road on Edradour. You won’t’ see me turning my nose up at them, but you also won’t find me hiding outside the distillery waiting for the next whisky, straight from the cask.
And my friends are quite similar: Some of them had a few bottles, offered me some drams, so I did what anyone in our hobby does: I tried them.
So let’s see if I’ve changed my mind either way, shall we?
Thanks to /u/the_muskox for this one.
Edradour 13 2005 Natural Cask Strength is a specialty release from a distillery that seemingly has many. And they are all cask strength. What’s the difference between this and the Straight-from-the-Cask? I think this is consistently out while the wine finishes/matured are when they are ready. So there will always be a Sherry, 13-year-old Natural Cask Strength out there, waiting for you. In the bushes potentially.
But how does it taste? Out of the bush (or a glass if you want), of course. Let’s see, shall we?
Price: € 130
Distilled: May 3, 2005
Bottled: Feb 4, 2019
Cask No. 98
Cask Type: Sherry Cask
No. Of bottles: 672
Colour: 7.5YR 7/12
Nose: Cherry syrup, anise, orange zest, tea Yup, there’s sherry here. Really hard to find the whisky, if I’m honest, what with the sheer amount of sherry. Nice spice, acidity, red fruits, and tannic.
But whisky notes? Not in the nose, even with water.
Taste: Anise, black tea, currant, red licorice, papaya, watermelon
More spice, more sweet and red fruit flavour, with tropical red fruit showing up. It’s somewhat closer to a whisky, and I’m enjoying the tea/tannic aspects there, but still there’s a lot of sherry influence. Not really a “bomb”, it’s more a firecracker. A sherry firecracker.
Finish: Orange peel, heather, cinnamon, cocoa, butter
Finish goes into some more spice, actually feels more like a whisky and gives you this buttery, cask influence to it (not quite smoke but cocoa like thing). Keeps the acidity.
Conclusion: Sherried sherry with some whisky in there. Holds up decently but gets lost sometimes. Nice to sip on. I didn’t mind it, however there’s more brash and more complex sherry bombs out there.
This? It’s more a firecracker. There’s a ton of influence and the aste really amped it up, however I came here for whisky, and the distillery influence was missing. Good thing to have if you need to pour something nice for the boss and don’t want to lose out on a really powerful sherry bomb.
Thanks to /u/Scotchguy_TO for the dram.
“Hey, you should try this, I liked this one”
That’s how I was offered Edradour 10 2006 Signatory Vintage – Binny’s, which I’m completely fine with. I would have taken “drink this, we’re visiting and being normal” and had the dram.
So Edradour and Signatory are the same company, so someone from Signatory walked over to the casks that weren’t quite “fitting” a profile that Edradour wanted to release and put it under their name, and then someone at Binny’s tried it and bought the whole lot to only sell at their location.
Fun! But is this just a daily drinker? A hot mess? A requirement to buy other more profitable casks? Let’s see, shall we?
Price: $60 USD
Cask Type: Bourbon Barrel
Cask Number: 110
Number of bottles: 200
Colour: 5Y 8/6
Nose: Plum, floral vanilla, corn husks, soap, white cherry
Ok, so this is a bourbon barrel? Weird. Soap, vegetal, light tartness, all over the place. Maybe I was too mean on the above and this is the norm.
Love the fruit. And I’m a big floral fan, so that’s working for me too. The sweet/vegetal is unique.
Taste: Smoked honey, molasses, plum sauce, salted peanuts, caramel/Werthers
This whole thing reminds me of eating at a Southern (US) restaurant. Peanuts, caramels, molasses, being used for your votes by keeping you down because the elites amongst you didn’t want to take a profit cut. Oh, and a nice smoke flavour too!
Finish: Honey, heather, brine, butter*, mint
More honey, and holy damn a ton of butter. Seriously, butter just takes over, every other sip the butter aspects are stronger, you get more butter, and you’re all buttered up.
Nice mint… oh, now more butter.
Conclusion: Butter bomb, nice fruit around the edges, very caramel/floral and a good smoked honey backbone. I really don’t see why this was so inexpensive. It’s really, really quite nice, and tastes really interesting.
My best guess is they had a honey barrel that didn’t fit with the Natural Cask Strength 10 year ex-Bourbon and they couldn’t “straight from the cask” it for… reasons, so they made it disappear and still got some money. And that works for me, because I put it inside myself.
Thanks to /u/smoked_herring for pouring this for me blind
Edradour Ballechin 16 Signatory Vintage Un-Chillfiltered Collection – Cask Strength is a mean blind whisky. Allow me to explain. Wait, your attention span is short. Allow me to sum up.
Take Edradour, but peat it to make Ballechin. Age it longer than normal (16 years) so you’re not used to the complexity. Have it among the Un-Chillfiltered Collection, which typically isn’t Cask Strength, but make it cask strength. Then add it to a sherry cask, but actually one that used to have Islay Scotch in it.
Got all that? Because if this was a person it’d be either a guy who complains about being a nice guy or a girl who says she’s not like all the others. And be right this time, for the first time ever.
So what did I think? Let’s see, shall we?
Price: € 109.95
Cask Type: A Sherry butt AFTER it was used for an Islay Scotch maturation
Cask Number: 186
Number of bottles: 620
Colour: 2.5YR 3/8
Nose: Fresh bread, dark chocolate, cherry, salt air, cashew butter
Yeast, obvious peat is obvious, but… I don’t know, something is telling me it’s not Islay peat… Wait, no, backup.
Nose smells like it’s peated. Ok. And there’s obvious sherry notes with nuttiness and cherry. But somehow the brine is distinct? I don’t know, I’m having trouble with this one.
Taste: Strawberry fruit roll-ups, dark chocolate, butter, grass, brine, grapefruit
More strawberry, more developed btiter peat, and this butter/grassy note. Again, I keep getting the feeling that this is not an Islay peat, but then I write down brine later once I add water.
Like, I’m so sure that this isn’t an Islay but that note keeps screaming “you’re wrong”, subbing in for my whisky friends during the pandemic.
Finish: Cherry, mint, maple, square/farminess, smoke, mineral, grass, gingerbread
Finish is a bit simpler, however if you’re a fan of what happens to peat with time like Lagavulin but want more sherry influence, this is it.
Conclusion: An earth heavy peated dram that once water is added takes the best of both Islay peat and non-Islay peat. Salt and not salted smoke for your lovely experience.
Frankly I had to guess it blind, and I thought it was Ballechin only due to the lack of salt initially. Anything else was picking out an obvious sherry influence. Any peat head would want to try this. Anyone who enjoys sherry would want to try this.
I think I like Ballechin better you guys. Who da thought, peathead me, would have that reaction?
Guess: Ballechin, ex-sherry, 54%, 12-14 years, maybe Signatory
Actually: Ballechin 16 Sherry Butt after Islay
Scotch review #1301-1303, Highland review #206-208, Whisky Network review #1955-7