Tag Archives: 55.7%

Ballechin 2005 ‘Straight from the Cask’ Bordeaux Cask 11-year-old

Bought: Master of Malt, 2nd August 2017

87.75/100 – Whiskybase (average from 4 member votes)

According to Whiskybase there haven’t been many distilleries to mature or finish whisky in Bordeaux casks. Arran, Auchentoshan, Bowmore and Glen Garioch have done a small handful but Edradour are the experts when it comes to using wood from this illustrious French wine region. The small Pitlochry distillery, owned by Signatory, produced 25 Bordeaux cask releases since 2005. 20 of these were their unpeated ‘Edradour’ range but in 2017 they added 5 variations of their peated ‘Ballechin’. All 5 were from single casks, amounting to just over 400 50cl bottles per cask, and gradually released through 2017 as part of the ‘Straight from the Cask’ series.

Peat and French wine? Really? It’s fair to say that in the early days it didn’t always work but since 2012 none of the Edradour Bordeaux releases have scored less than 82/100 on Whiskybase. Of the 5 ‘Ballechin’ bottlings produced this year, 3 are rated and mine is fractionally the lowest with a fantastic 87.75/100. Bottled ‘straight from the cask’ at a natural strength of 55.7%, all 407 bottles of this 11yo quickly sold out. I’m glad I got one and can now tick ‘Ballechin’ off my whisky wishlist.

Note: ‘Bellachin’ is the name of an estate in Perthshire and also the name of a distillery in the same region that operated between 1810 and 1927.

Tasting notes from Master of Malt:

Nose: Salted & pepper crackers, truffle oil, raisins and dried apricot.
Palate: Jammy red fruit notes are up-front and lip-smackingly sweet, with burnt oak and cut grass notes in support.
Finish: BBQ meats with a honey glaze.

Port Dundas 1992 21-year-old

Bought: Nickolls & Perks, 22nd January 2016

93/100 – Whisky Bible 2014
87.79/100 – Whiskybase (average from 16 member votes)

Port Dundas single grain distillery closed in 2010 but whoever bought up the old stock isn’t selling off the most recent casks for bottling. Why would they since vintage casks from a closed distillery are far more likely to bring a profit. This 21-year-old was one of the youngest examples of Port Dundas mentioned in the Whisky Bible 2014 with 5 of the 9 listed being 30+ years old.

Jim Murray, author of the Whisky Bible, really rates this Port Dundas 1992. 93/100 categorises it as “brilliant” and Mr Murray says of the taste “although the oak has dug in and makes an early impact, the spreading of what appears to be soft corn oils helps the ever-intensifying sugars to see off the underlying toastiness.” He summarises with “astonishingly invigorating. Leaps from the glass with intent and purpose. Wonderful!”

Scoring nearly 88/100 on Whiskybase is a fantastic score. Voters include comments of “absolutely stunning single grain!” , “so very well balanced, no off notes, not too grainy, not too sweet. I love this! This one easily beats most single malts in its price range.” And “bulls eye, this Port Dundas. Quite a complex grain! Recommended.”

Port Dundas is a very good introduction to single grain whisky, and a big step up from an entry level £20 bottle of Cameron Brig. But it seems that having a sweet tooth would be an advantage.

Port Dundas 1992 21yo 70cl