Taste Review #35 – Ballechin 10 y.o
It has been a near miss for this review. I nearly didn’t get it ready on time. As regular readers will realise, due to my job, I’ve usually got a few reviews in hand so I can still post weekly content. Well, with the excitement of a recent whisky tasting, the collection of some barrel lids for my wife’s hotel plus the high drama of the latest Bruichladdich Octomore release a couple of days ago, I’ve not managed to drink any whisky to review. These are hard times indeed my friends.
I’ve delved into the box of miniatures at random to see what will come up first, and it’s this cheeky little Ballechin. Ever heard of it? No, I hadn’t heard of it either until I became aware of it sitting on the shelves in my usual specialist whisky shops.
A quick bit of investigative work reveals that this is actually a product of the Edradour Distillery, one of Scotland’s smallest distilleries which sits just outside the Perthshire village of Pitlochry. The Ballechin brand represents their peated whiskies, and is named after the former Ballechin distillery, which was located just south of Pitlochry on the A827 road between Ballinluig and Aberfeldy. This was a farm distillery and was founded by a group of farmers in 1810, but closed by 1927. It had at one point been recognised as having a peaty style of whisky, but as no stocks remain, we will never know. There are a few small buildings left, but this was a small distillery and what is left is little more than a few derelict farm buildings.
Pitlochry is a small bustling town, with a second distillery present (Blair Athol). There are plenty of things to do in the area from outdoor pursuits such as walking, visit the Hydro Electric Dam and fish ladder to allow salmon to migrate along the River Tummel, bypassing the dam. Local scenery is fantastic, and you aren’t that far away for a trip up into the lower reaches of Speyside.
Right, since I’ve been writing this, my dram has been breathing in the glass, so let’s get cracking with the tasting.
10 years old
Sweet smoke, slightly medicinal, apples, cut grass.
Smooth, light dram. Light peat, slightly tannic oak notes. A bit spicier with the addition of some water.
Surprisingly short considering it’s a peated whisky. Ash, peat, slightly fruity. With water I noticed more spice and heat.
Aye, well not bad! Quite a smooth mouthfeel, the peat wasn’t over powering at all. It was an enjoyable dram without the addition of anything extra, although things livened up with a bit of water.
Let’s look at what this whisky gets right and wrong by taking a close look at the label.
First let’s start with the good things. This is a dram at 46%, natural colour and non-chill filtered. Top marks there. So what was incorrect? Well, this is just a matter of opinion as it states the whisky was heavily peated; I’d disagree. Apparently the malt was peated to 50ppm, which is an approximate Ardbeg levels. I’m a fan of peatier, smokier whisky, but this is just my palate. If you want a starter peaty whisky, this would maybe not what I’d start with, but would suggest the BenRiach Curiositas 10 instead. Don’t let my opinion stop you trying this, it is a worthwhile buy.
My miniature cost £7.80 from the Whisky Shop Dufftown. Click on the link to see all their bargains. Shopping around can see this bottle sell for between £45 and £52.
Until next time…
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