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So much whisky, so little time | Singapore | Tasting Notes

Balmenach 26 yo 1988 Signatory for The Whisky Exchange #3242 vs Balmenach 1979 / 2009 Berry Brothers #155 + 156

Balmenach is another distillery one does not hear much about, other than the very occasional independent bottling. There is no core range, no vintage focus, no great history, though it is located in the beautiful Cairngorm National Park. It chugs along with Inver House stablemates Knockdhu and Speyburn, leaving the spotlight to Balblair and Old Pulteney instead. As expected much of Balmenach ends up in their blends. Hankey Bannister anyone?

(Photo: scotchwhisky.net)

Interestingly, Balmenach belonged to United Distillers who mothballed it in 1993 and sold it to Inver House in 1997. The distillery was then renovated for full production, so this short interlude might mark a shift in distillation regime, as change in ownership often does. However the new owners opted not to mess around with the distillery’s worm tubs, one of less than 15 remaining in Scotland, perhaps they saw much of the character of the make was tied to this old form of condensation.

The stills are relatively small, but are equipped with boil balls to enhance reflux:

(Photo: scotchwhisky.net)

Another interesting bit of information is the Scottish Gin Caorunn is also distilled in the Balmenach distillery, not using the pot stills of course but column stills for gin production installed onsite.

 

Balmenach 26 yo 1988 Signatory for The Whisky Exchange #3242 51.1%

 Nose: Quite dense: Hot butter, cereal dust, steel wool, and lots of green elements – branch shavings, cut green apples and williams pears. Toasted wholewheat bread, touch of dirty cloth and wisp of white smoke. Bit of water brings out a surprising fruity side like warm oranges and honey, also softens up everything. This Balmenach, like the previous Signatory for TWE, shows itself to be a very tightly put together speysider, firm but yielding. Honestly an attractive if simple malt.

 Palate: Sugared almonds, gingery heat, dusty cereals, white peppercorns. Good weight, lots of malt character, and high fruity esters. Clear oils, sap and vegetable juice. With water, citrusy-zesty-sweet plus honey, water takes away the heat and astringence, but makes it somewhat simpler. It’s almost two whiskies.

 Finish: Medium long, spicy ginger, broken branches and clear running sap. Astringent and drying. Full of natural character.

 

 

Balmenach 1979 / 2009 Berry Brothers #155 + 156 56.3%

 Nose: Almost the same whisky, except a little more acrid smoke hot metal. A notch more polished oak panels too. With water, the leafiness really sprouts.. The same firmness and tight knitted knob of a whisky. Can’t really tell this is a 30 yo whisky though.

 Palate: Clearly more oak in this one – vanillins and tannins, but not overly done, so appears as tobacco and oak panels, some leather, some creme. Then mineral oil, dusty cereals, and spicy white heat. Full of that sappy vegetable juice and ascerbic bite again. Hot butter and malt.

 Finish: Medium long. Oak, sappy astringent and drying again. Certainly worth exploring.

 

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This entry was posted on February 17, 2018 by in Balmenach and tagged .
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