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.
Posted in Ballechin (Edradour)
Tagged 11yo, 2005, 50cl, 55.7%, Ballechin, Bordeaux, Cask Strength, Edradour, Highland, Highlands, Master of Malt, Single Malt, Straight from the Cask
Bought: Auriol Wines, 29th February 2016
83/100 – Whiskybase (from 1 member vote)
If you look at Edradour on Whiskybase there are 192 distillery bottlings and 354 by the independent bottler Signatory. The reason is that Signatory now own Edradour. As Whisky.com’s Horst Luening says in his video below, this is because distilleries became reluctant to sell casks to independent bottlers when they realised how much money they were making from them. The answer for several of the big independents was to go out and buy their own distilleries, which Gordon & MacPhail also did with Benromach.
83/100 on Whiskybase is a good mark for this Edradour 10yo but I’m yet to find any tasting notes. The house style is medium-bodies, sweet, honeyed, spicy, nutty, malty and with a hint of smoke. Bottles released under the name of ‘Edradour’ are from sherry casks whereas those under the name ‘Ballechin’ are from bourbon casks.
Signatory have released this style of 10yo from Edradour many times over the years and often many times within a year. A version from 2002 scores 88.5/100 in the Whisky Bible 2016, which classifies it as “very good to excellent whisky definitely worth buying”.
Here’s Horst Luening of Whisky.com reviewing a slightly earlier Edradour 2002 10yo by Signatory:
Bought – Justminiatures, 13th November 2013
83/100 – Whisky Fun review
84/100 – Malt Maniacs (average from 6 reviewers)
You’d think from the lack of reviews for Edradour in the Whisky Bible, and from Ralfy on YouTube, that malt from the smallest distillery in Scotland wasn’t worth whisky spit in the rain but you’d be wrong. This 12yo example from the Pitlochry-based distillery has got good qualities clearly written on the box – “natural colour, unchillfiltered” and at 46%. I’ve yet to sample it myself but the review on Whisky Fun finishes with “One of the good ones. I like it.”
I would love to say that I opted for this example from Edradour after hours of research but I didn’t. It was because I loved the blue tube the bottle comes in and the fact it’s named after the famous Scottish song ‘Caledonia’ by Dougie MacLean. Have a listen and sing alone here.