All about making whisky
Single Malt, Scotland / Speyside, 70cl, Ref: 16121
- The brand
Located in the heart of Speyside, Balmenach has been the property of the Inver House group since 1997. This isolated distillery has very few official bottlings and, like many others, produces a single malt predominantly for use in the group’s blends. For a long time owned by United Distillers & Vintners, Balmenach was for a time available in the form of a 12 year old as part of the Flora & Fauna range. Mothballed between 1993 and 1997, it was reopened by its new owners in 1998. The rare versions of its single malt are released by independent bottlers such as Signatory Vintage and Gordon & Macphail.
This independent bottler is without a doubt one of the most highly acclaimed in Scotland. It stands out, not for its age (though it is the oldest independent bottler in Scotland), but for its complete mastery of cask ageing. Gordon & MacPhail is the only bottler to have its own casks - carefully chosen for the purpose - filled by the distilleries themselves, instead of simply buying the ones suggested to them by the latter. This allows it to determine, in advance and with great precision, exactly how many years a whisky will need to reach ideal maturation.
Of all the existing specialist bottling ranges, Connoisseurs Choice is without doubt the oldest. The label underwent a few changes in the 1980s. Plainer and more restrained, it became two-toned with creams and browns. When segmentation by region of production region was adopted by the whisky industry in the early 1990s, the range changed its identity again. The label now shows a map of the region of Scotland where the malt comes from. To the delight of whisky enthusiasts, the range, which is always evolving, is now bottled at 43% and 46%.