Ballechin 2004 12 Year Old Manzanilla Sherry Cask (BTC 2017 Day 4) Review

Day 4 of the BTC 2017 competition brought me the first Ballechin I tasted. For those who don’t know it, Ballechin is the peated whisky distilled in Edradour distillery. In our case it’s a 12 year old Ballechin, distilled in 2004 and matured in Manzanilla sherry cask #278 that was bottled in 28.10.2016 after yielding 495 bottles.

When I sniffed and tasted it, my first reaction was: this is no Islay peat. But then I recalled a virgin oak Octomore single cask which held a very similar profile so it was either peated laddie or product outside Islay. I went for young age (7 years) thinking of an overly active cask with ABV of 53%. For distillery, at the last minute I decided it’s not an Islay whisky so I went with something unexplored and ‘funky’ (at least for me), Ballechin and good thing I went this way because I was right on this and wrong on the rest. At least I got some points!

Ballechin 2004 12 Year Old Manzanilla Sherry Cask (55.6%, cask #278)

Nose: Smoky. sweet oak, tons of burnt wood smoke, ashes in the background, some special cask or maybe a heavily recharred/toasted cask? reminds me a single cask virgin oak Octomore.

Palate: Smoky, burnt wood and a fleeting burnt rubber note for a second, a dash of peat smoke, bonfire, sweet oak extract, oak spices

Finish: Lingering peat smoke, sweet vanilla, oak extracts.

Thoughts: I didn’t like it at all, way unbalanced and the burnt wood note is way overpowering and it’s just not to my taste. I know others liked it so I guess it’s a matter of personal taste and not a case of a bad whisky overall.



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