Thanks to /u/forbiddenwaffle for pouring me the Cotes de Provence.
I always have to ask this about every distillery: Are there hardcore fans?
It’s easy to find fans of Islay products: They are everywhere. It’s like bunnies in a field: They keep propagating and you can always find them.
It gets harder as you go to other distilleries: For instance I’m a fan of Lowlands, and finding similar Lowland whores is tough.
Rarer still? A hardcore Edradour fan. I’ve never met them, online or otherwise. Yes, lots of people have bought Edradour. People have enjoyed it. There’s Ballechin for the peat heads and regular for the others. The price isn’t insane. The casks are always varied and numerous.
But no fans, per say. I’ve met IB fans, and Irish fans, and the amount of people who need to buy every Springbank in existence is somehow growing. I’ve had good Edradours, and less good Edradours, but no person showing a giant showcase of tons of squat bottles.
So I kept looking. There’s a group that calls themselves The Edradourian Knights. A group from 2018, who seem to be the hardcore fans I was looking for, and am so happy I found (that last part is sarcasm). So they are dedicated “to the Empress Edradour & the Baroness Ballechin, forever pledged to prophesy in their collective name, “IN BATTLE OR BARREL!””
Huh. Kinda feel like a dog that caught the semi he was chasing. No idea what to do with it now.
On the flip side, we also have a bottle that the distillery themselves held back and only sold if you made the trek out there yourself (or bought it off an auction).
Thus I’ve proven my first point: I’m a lazy google person. Also there are, in fact, diehard fans of Edradour. So have I found two Edradours that I think are good? Will I be a knight, or hiking out to the Highlands, or will I be… whatever the opposite of those things are. A peasant? Going the opposite direction, so… to Cornwall?
No, I won’t be going there again. Let’s just see how these taste, shall we?
Edradour 11 2009 Bordeaux Cask Matured
Vintage: June 12, 2009
Bottled: September 18, 2020
Cask type: 2nd fill Hogshead Bordeaux Cask
Cask number: 149
Number of bottles: 262
Pillaged Especially for: The Edradourian Knights
Colour: 5Y 9/8
Nose: Apple cider vinegar, mineral, caramel, ginger, floral
Interesting initial fruit/funk/tart note, followed by a balance with mineral, caramel, and heat. Heck, with a bit of water this starts having some Lowland vibes, which is totally my vibe, so I can vibe with that.
Yes, I’m old, why do you ask?
Taste: Caramel, lavender, ginger, hard candy, apple cider
More floral, less funk, less complex but still really warming and fruity/flavourful. I had a mochi doughnut the other day that was blackberry and lavender, and this has that vibe. Not overly sweet, good balance, good heat, and I want more. It’s not perfect, as that hard candy note could have more to it.
Finish: Ginger, heather/char, apple, floral, salt
Heat, floral, more floral, and apple. Also the mineral from before is closer to salt now. Still floral, and still tasty? Yeah, I would have picked this barrel too.
Doesn’t make me a knight though.
Conclusion: It’s a floral, really good Edradour. Which is really surprising. If I was more of a Edradour fan, and was “pillaging” as a “knight”, then I’d “want” this… wait, did I overdo the quotes?
Look, will this change me into a hardcore fan of Edradour? No. It’s tasty, and certainly one of the better Edradour I’ve ever had, if not the best. But if this is the best, I’m wondering what’s needed to get it up there with some of the better whiskies from other distilleries?
It lacks the complexity I would expect from the top, top end. And maybe, just maybe, the knights, a group that’s been around for only four years, may not have that sway yet.
As it stands, if you find this out in the wild, it’s definitely something you should try. It’s a bottle I’d recommend buying. I hope there’s others that continue to wow me even more than this.
Edradour 12 2006 Côtes de Provence Cask Matured
Vintage: April 10, 2006
Bottled: April 16, 20018
Cask type: Côtes de Provence Hogshead
Cask number: 169
Number of bottles: 293
Bottled for: Edradour Distillery Only
Colour: 5YR 6/8
Nose: Anise/grass, molasses, farmy, black cherry, thyme
Grassier, bit of sulfur/funk/sugar, and some distinct cherry notes. Also a bit of herbal.
Frankly having these back to back is weird. Both are wine casks, seemingly both are red wine casks (not saying for certain, just guessing as both bottles don’t say one way), and very different. I mean, I shouldn’t be surprised, both parts of France have their own types of wine that have specific names, that’s not all for shits and giggles or for the tourists.
Taste: Dates, mineral, black pepper, tobacco, black tea, orange
Rich with a lot of minerality to cut it. It’s like eating M&Ms and Popcorn, alternating between the two and they are better. Like a true connoisseur.
Water opens up to my favourite, that smokey/herbal/tobacco note. I don’t know which tobacco in this case, as I’ve had very little of it and I hate the taste.
Finish: Dry apple, limestone, char, anise, mint hot chocolate
Fruit, more mineral, and an interesting finish that has a bit of mint but more creamy/cocoa notes. Very odd whisky near the end, and keeps surprising you.
Conclusion: A lot of minerality, but damn did I enjoy this. Again, what you find at a distillery has some gravitas associated with it. You’ve come all the way from somewhere, you’re in the middle of Scotland, there’s maybe one place to eat and maybe one castle, right? Thus you expect after paying to do a tour, and paying to be there, and having little else to do nearby (potentially), the exclusive better be raising the stakes?
Granted Edradour is associated with Signatory, so presumably you have really, really good independent bottlings to pick from as well.
Is this up to that level? It’s close. Maybe if I liked Tobacco more. Hell, I think at this point the inclusion of random orange and tobacco means you should add some points to the score, as my bias is very, very evident.
If you’re looking for something interesting, this is it. Is it going to convert you to Edradour? Probably not, but it’ll prove what we’ve all figured out: We’re not writing off the distillery anytime soon, as there’s some diamond in the rough.
Scotch review #1545-1546, Highland review #260-261, Whisky Network review #2266-2267