Ballechin 2004 Burgundy Cask

"At first it appears very powerful and satisfying, the wine influence is somewhat restrained and reasonably integrated with the peat and smoke"

(Photo from Whiskybase)

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Since 2002 Edradour, claimed to be the smallest distillery in Scotland, has been picked up by independent bottlers Signatory Vintage and restructured into a much appraised whisky brand. As other more non-Islay brands are doing nowadays, they also distill spirit from peated malt. A thing that might be appraised, since alternative variations on the peated whisky theme are certainly welcome, next to the fact that some Islay distilleries have been underperforming, to say the least, in recent years. The inclusion of a peated whisky that does not come from Islay in a blind tasting competition is probably a must-do. Although, you’re aware of this possibility as a participant, but can still be difficult to distinguish from Islay, as it was for this one.

Nose

Intense arrival with lots of ashes, car oil and old leather. A hint of new car furniture, some smouldering bonfire, liquorice root, obviously wine, and rubber tires complete the nose, which is slightly closed. I think we might need some water to bring down the alcohol percentage. Much more complexity now, with red fruit compote, slightly burned, followed by hot raisins, more towards sherry and less peat, which is also slightly sweeter. Butterscotch, oh man this has really slowed down, more red fruit juice and slightly wine-y.

Taste

Again intense and focused on oil, ashes, coal dust, muddy roots and sea weed. A faint hint of red fruits in the background. The rest kinda forced under. Water, please. Now I get loads of salmiac salt, more mud, roots, I think beet roots, and salted liquorice. Surprisingly, not that much wine. It is not the best swimmer, though, and loses much of its admired steam. Reasonably short finish with more roots,  and smoky red fruits.

Overall

This was one of the most popular drams in the blind tasting competition. At first it appears very powerful and satisfying. The wine influence is somewhat restrained and reasonably integrated with the peat and smoke. Peat heads will love this and the wine offers a welcome change from the regular peat-sherry combos. Personally, I do have some issues with this. In particular a lack of depth in the nose without water and on the palate with water. This also makes it slightly difficult to drink. Probably start by drinking the majority, add some water and enjoy the nose of the final bit?

What others say

Whiskybase: 85.80 (8 votes)
Read for yourself

Big thanks to for sharing the sample!

Scores

these are my personal views, so do not take them too seriously… nothing beats tasting these for yourself •

Cask influence
60%
Peat/smoke
65%
  • Mud
  • Ashes
  • Oil
Nose 86%
Taste 85%
Balance 82%
Depth 84%
Finish 85%
Score