BALLECHIN 16 ans 2004 Ex-Burgundy Wine Cask French Connections 51,7%

Single Malt Whisky, Scotland / Highlands, 70cl, Ref: 58062A

An LMDW exclusive 

Whether aged in a second or first-fill bourbon cask, in an ex-manzanilla cask or finished in a rum cask, year after year Ballechin proves itself to be a magnificent peated single malt. This time aged in an ex- Burgundy wine hogshead, this version does more than simply add another stone to the construction begun in 2002. So much so that the aromatic palette is already a true masterpiece in which every note plays the perfect pitch. And then there is the flavour palette, which is boundlessly natural, with lyricism resting on a masterful precision and complexity rivalled only by its desire for simplicity and transparency.

Profile: the rich initial nose offers a balsamic (cedar) and vinous (straw pine) peat. Oxidative, it then becomes increasingly oily and fatty. Gradually, the marvellously fruity (apricot) and floral (rose petal) Ballechin spirit reveals itself. The rich attack stages the same apricot and adds coconut and squares of chocolate. The peat has become drier, salty and medicinal (arnica). The delicious start of the finish boasts a superb chocolate and herbaceous (gentian) bitterness. A note of rum baba. The peat has become oily (smoked fish) and animal (bacon). The very malty retro-nasal olfaction takes us to a malting floor.

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Tasting note

  • Nose : deep, rich. First, a balsamic (thuja, cedar) and vinous (straw wine) peat brings lots of charm to the nose. Therefore oxidative, it becomes increasingly oily and fatty. The very expressive aromatic palette evokes a rain-soaked field of peat. Gradually the marvellously unctuous, fruity (apricot) and floral (rose petal, peony) spirit of Ballechin reveals itself. Stunning.
  • Palate : rich, full. On the attack, the same apricot, accompanied by coconut and squares of dark chocolate literally seize the palate. It is important to note that the peat has dried, becoming salty and medicinal (arnica). Continuing the work of dehydration already begun, soot and ash now come to the fore of the flavour palette. The sensation of cigar smoke is just an illusion.
  • Overall : long, delicious. Equipped with a superb chocolate bitterness, the start of the finish is also herbaceous (gentian, agave) and rich (rum baba, coconut cake). At the very end of the palate, the peat is not only oily once again (smoked fish) but also animal (bresaola, bacon). On the retro-nasal olfaction, a very tasty and crisp malted barley takes us to a malting floor. The empty glass is characterized by notes of creosote, truffle and artichoke heart.
The brand
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The brand

When the distillery was bought in 2002, Andrew Symington called on the services of Iain Henderson, the former director of Laphroaig, for the creation of a second, very peaty malt. Given the name of Ballechin, this second single malt is created using malted barley at 50 ppm phenols, a rate comparable to those of the smokiest malts produced on Islay. Available since 2006, it is sold as a yearly vintage in limited runs of 6,000 bottles. Even more revolutionary than its older sibling, Ballechin is aged entirely in casks that have previously held wine from Burgundy and Madeira.

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The distillery

Since 2005, with the opening of the Kilchoman micro-distillery on the isle of Islay, Edradour is probably no longer the smallest distillery in Scotland. Tucked away on the edge of a small valley, among the hills over the town of Pitlochry, this distillery resembles a charming little village with its red shutters, landscaped garden and gently splashing stream. Purchased in 2002 by Andrew Symington, the founder of Signatory Vintage, Edradour has become more than just a tourist attraction. This distillery-farm concentrates all the operations involved in the production of whisky in a single room, from the mill to the still, which is the smallest size authorized by the British Customs and Excise department. Very traditional, Eradour receives 100,000 visitors a year, who are literally transported to the 19th century in this remarkable time capsule.

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