Ballechin 2004 SFTC Port Cask

"Edradour has proven that Islay is not the only home of heavily peated whisky anymore"

(Photo from Whiskybase)

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Although Ballechin used to be an official distillery in the same town between 1810 and 1927, it now is used for branding the peated whisky of the only distillery left in Pertshire, which is Edradour. The brand slowsly been increasing its fame since the independent bottlers of Signatory Vintage took over the distillery. One of its typical features are the wine cask finished or matured cask strength whiskies, also known as the SFTC series. Today’s feature is the port cask matured singel cask from 2004, which I tasted in a blind competition recently.

Nose

Coastal notes with sea water breeze and beach bonfires, it appears, since these are soon replaced by other smells. Soft smoky raisins, wet leather jackets, dusty hessian and smouldering coals. Gets sweeter with some dusty vanilla, dirty dried figs and old barn. It also gets ashier. Some soft aromatic herbal notes in the back, in particular a upcoming smells of fresh parsley. Gets softer, more fruity, but stays rather dirty. Smoked walnut and grape skins and a little sweet back-note, which I think is nougat. Yes, red fruit-filled nougat. Well balanced nose. The fruits becomes stronger with more fresh red berries, cranberries and a hint of grapefruit. I think I even catch a scent of bubblegum. There is also a tiny farm-y side to this.

Taste

Ashes, dried fruits and nuts. Here the port casks especially do their thing. Raisins, leather, dried figs and apricots. Then salted meat, mackerel, and sardines. Slightly stronger notes of vanilla in the development, and a hint of dry (diluted) red wine next a to barbecue. Smoked berry juice. Nicely “tamed” peat, not like these “bombs” we see (too) often nowadays, but certainly not weak. The salty influence becomes somewhat clearer, along with more fruity wine and dirty peat. The after taste is long, ashy, fruity and very pleasant.

Overall

I think it is fair to say that Edradour distillery has brought their peated whisky up to Islay standards. In fact, I did guess this was an Islay whisky in a recent blind tasting. The port cask is very nicely integrated into the peated distillate, maybe one of the best integrated port cask whiskeys I have ever had. Ok, conclusion: I should taste more spirits from Pitlochry’s distillery. 

What others say

Whiskybase: 87.05 (24 votes) * @WhiskyRant: 90/100
Read for yourself

This sample was part of organised by Norbert Terbarts!

Scores

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

Cask influence
50%
Sweet <-> Spicy
35%
  • Ash
  • Wine
  • Salted meat
Nose 87%
Taste 87.5%
Balance 88%
Depth 86%
Finish 87%
Score